It's half term.
I used to find half terms rather tricky. On the one hand, it's great having all the children around and not having to do the school run, but, on the other hand, it's exhausting.
Three children and no school means constantly trying to find things for them to do that don't involve some form of electronic screen. Endless refereeing of fights and arguments. Non stop catering, inevitably ending in at least one child pronouncing that they 'don't like' whatever it is you've cooked.
Alongside all of the above there's all the picking upping, clearing upping, wiping noses, cleaning hands and minding manners, washing, drying, putting awaying etcetera ad infinitum.
And do they ever turn round and say "Thank you, Mummy, for all the effort you've put into making this half term such fun for us"? Hell, no!
Inevitably, back in the drinking days, I would not make it to wine o'clock before reaching for the vino. By the time Mr SM came back from work, I'd be most of the way through a bottle. Ten minutes into the latest box set and I'd be comatose on the sofa.
Repeat the following day. And the next. Until school starts again.
I'm much more used to doing all of this stuff sober now, but, even so, half terms and holidays would see me grappling with the wine witch from mid afternoon onwards, and getting rather grumpy, shouty and stressed.
Then, last half term (back in October) I got the cancer diagnosis (if you want to read about it, start from this post: I Need Help), and I realised that it's all a matter of relativity.
It's a bit like learning to ski. Initially the red runs look terrifying. Then, one day you take a new route down the mountain, and find that you have to ski a black.
It's terrible. You think you're going to die - or at least break something crucial. But you don't look too far ahead, and take one little turn at a time, and somehow you make it to the bottom in one piece. And, after that, those red runs look kind of tame. Easy peezy lemon squeezy.
Well, this half term is like that. Because last half term was TRULY AWFUL. Oddly, there are whole blocks of it that I can't remember, as if my brain has short circuited, blanked them out. Perhaps I have post traumatic stress syndrome?
What I do remember is being unable to sleep or eat, and constantly having this voice in my head saying you are going to die, and your children will have no mother. And all the time I'd be trying to stay cheerful and normal, and make half term as fun as possible. Whenever I could I would escape to the park with the dog and howl like a mad woman.
But, you know what? This half term: easy peasy lemon squeezy. I am zen. We are all having a laugh. It's great. I've done the black run, and this little red seems virtually flat.
(It is, however, only Monday....)
So, next time you have a really tough day, and you're white knuckling it through the witching hour, just remember that the harder it is now, the easier it'll make the days that follow.
Or, as Jane Fonda used to say back in the '80's: No pain, no gain
(Watch out, because the same principle works in reverse: if you do cave in to the wine witch, it might make today easier, but tomorrow will be truly dreadful. See my post: Borrowing Tomorrow's Happiness).
Keep going, folks! It's nearly Spring...
Big Hugs, and Happy Half Term!