I’m not meant to be writing right now, well actually I am, I’m supposed to be finishing my assignment ready to hand in at the end of the week…so I’m procrastinating…for a change.
The thing is, when I write a blog post it’s because I’m compelled to, something sparks or I’m mulling over something and I need to get it off my chest and then usually I can focus more. A few things have got me thinking tonight, a phone call with a very good friend who was feeling very overwhelmed and who I just wanted to make things better for, the sad loss of Sir Tom to coronavirus (what a man) and a post from a fellow mum blogger.
It was actually the latter that really prompted me to write, she posted about the funeral for her Nan and that her Nan got one of the first copies of the book she wrote and in it she left a note saying that her “granddaughter wrote this book” because she was so proud of it being published and of her granddaughter. So of course this made me think of my dad. Good old Poppa M, who was a lot of things, good and bad but one thing he always was, was proud. He told me so, all the time, of us both, me and my brother. He was proud, you could see it in his eyes, especially when he looked down at my nephews. This made me think of my dad though because he kept things, usually in his typically bizarre and unsentimental way, like put somewhere random like the knife and fork drawer or blue tacked to the wall rather than in a proper picture frame, but still as ever the intention was there (have you read I were gonna?)
When my Dad died, the hospital passed me his belongings he’d come in with. At the time I just quickly glanced through with tear filled eyes and signed the form to say everything was there. Then days later, maybe even weeks, that time is all a bit of a messy blur of photos, tears, swearing (a lot of swearing) and red wine tribute to him drinking (loved a cheap red did Pops), I took to going through them and in his pocket was the handkerchief I embroidered for him with a special message for on my wedding day. I’d hidden it for him in the pocket of his wedding suit for him to find before he walked me down the aisle. And he’d kept it with him ever since, despite not wanting me to marry my ex-husband and knowing that my marriage was coming to an end, he kept it. Because the handkerchief wasn’t about my ex-husband or our marriage, it was about me and him and the pride he felt in not just walking me down the aisle (he’d have preferred to have done that for the right bloke in all fairness) but the pride he felt when I went to my first ballet class, on my first day of school and when he dropped me off to fly half way round the world to work and backpack across the states. He was proud.
Nowadays though my thoughts of my dad don’t just focus on what I miss. They focus more and more on what I’ve learnt. He’s taught me so much, mainly through his mistakes or downfalls but that’s not the point really, he’s still helped me become the woman I am today, in some ways even more so now that he’s not around. I’m determined not to let myself make the mistakes he did. I’ve said before that my Dad was a troubled man, but I’m not even really referring to that, it’s more how he handled things, you see Poppa M was very good at acknowledging some of his flaws (emphasis on some, most definitely not all) but he never did anything to address them. I mean he was never good at managing stress, he’d procrastinate and never finish a job and always getting overly anxious about silly things.
I am the same in a lot of ways. I mean I’m procrastinating now, writing this instead of finishing my assignment. I’m also a worrier, I worry too much about small things and let it get the better of me sometimes. I don’t always manage stress well and often wear my heart on my sleeve. But Poppa M didn’t manage these things very well at all. We all know he usually tried to find the answer to his problems after chain smoking a packet of cheap Indian cigarettes (that bloody stunk too) and at the bottom of a bottle of cheap red wine from the Co-op. More so though he almost just accepted that his poor stress management and lack of organisation, anxiety etc was just the way he was. But that’s not enough for me, I don’t like worrying over little things, I don’t like not being able to concentrate when something is bothering me. I like to find solutions to me problems and survival tactics for when things are throwing me off kilter.
A colleague recently introduced me to two new strategies, the Headspace app and Bullet Journalling. So I’ve started this week giving both ago, however another habit I’ve got into passed on from good old Poppa M is that not seeing things through and often I start these things with good intentions but then few days in drop them and forget about them, longing to pick them back up. This time I’m determined not to and the journaling should really help maintain my new good habits as it improves productivity. As I was chatting to this colleague though about both these methods, he turned and said he might start a blog too and that I had inspired him with mine (check me out) it was then that I realised that someone who I seemingly always thought never got stressed or overly stressed should I say, was just like me and everyone else, because everyone suffers from challenges, stresses and things that cause worry and strain. It’s about how you manage them. It’s about how good you are at acknowledging and accepting obstacles and things life throws at you and how you develop health coping mechanisms. He too like me, has challenging mornings when his toddler also throws cereal on the floor and or is distracted by toys when it’s time to get dressed, he too gets concerned over issues for us in school and how well things are going at work, gets frustrated when things don’t go according to plan but he also has things in place to help him ensure these things don’t become bigger and take up more headspace (see what I did there?) than they need to. I’m going follow in the footsteps of my colleague and other people I know that handle the worries and stresses that come at me, better than you did Poppa M.
So thank you for saving my handkerchief in your pocket Dad, you’ve reminded me of how proud you always were, the lessons I’ve learnt from you and I know you’ll be proud of me for being better than you and facing and handling the tough stuff…most of the time!