One question I hate to be asked is ‘yeah, but who’s your favourite’? I’ve been asked that over the years regarding my children and grandchildren….my answer is always and will always be the same, ‘I don’t have a favourite’.
I can be asked until the cows come home and I still would not, could not, answer the question.
The thing is all my children and all my grandchildren share the same amount of love I carry for them in my heart.
Now, when it comes to all their individual behaviours, quirks, attitudes etc, that denotes how I ‘respond and react’ to them. It does not denote how deeply I love them. If they, or anyone else, has a different opinion on ‘who MY favourite is’, then that is a matter of conjecture and not a matter of fact.
We are all very unique. Possess very different sets of skills, patience, tolerances, resilliences, etc and I guess we all bob along best we can, but as for favourites…..
There is no favourite person only my favourite chocolate bar, or my favourite food, favourite book, favourite movie, favourite destination etc. Even then, it does not always remain the same, it changes.
So as to my children and grandchildren, they are all one of my favourite people on the planet…..
I sat at the table looking out of the window to the river rushing by, trying to steady myself. Trying to anticipate how it would be, telling myself to remain calm, to not cry, to not make it about me.
The waitress brought my drink. I toasted, with a nod to the empty chair. Holding back the tears that were prickling my eyes, wiping the sweat of my palms on my jeans and swallowing hard, the dry lump in my throat.
I ate the dinner in silence. Thousands of thoughts racing in my head. Conversations. Things I would and wouldn’t say.
I went up to my hotel room, checked the time and waited. My stomach lurching. My body began to tremble.
I placed my phone on the dressing table, it was upright and facing the chair. I sat down heavily in it as my legs turned to jelly.
It began to ring that recognisable tone, exclusive to facetime. My heart nearly stopped and with bated breath and a fake smile, I answered.
She looked fabulous, Tired but her usual beautiful self. Her usual cheerful smile. Cracking jokes and making small talk. Her family with her, her husband and children by her side. Her other child, mother and sister on another facetime call.
Distance of being in another country, difficult, but at least we had technology.
‘I really hope i go tonight’, she said. ‘I’m ready’.
‘i love you. I’ll miss you, but i hope you get your wish’ I said, my heart breaking into pieces and taking everything i had, to not cry.
‘I love you too’ she said
When i hung up the phone i stared at my reflection in the mirror. I was glad in that moment i was alone in the hotel room. I was grateful no one could get to me, to try comfort me. There was no comfort knowing your best friend was about to die.
I walked over to the bed all I could do was punch down so fiercely on the pillows, and scream and cry to try let out the sheer anger that consumed by being.
It was the hardest goodbye I ever had, but I’m so grateful to have been able to have that moment with her.
If I could be someone else for a day I would be my guardian angel, whoever that is. I would be my guardian angel so that I could take a trip back up to heaven and chat with my dad, my friend and my relations and ancestors.
I would love to know and speak to the people in my ancestral line. I would love to hear the stories of their lives when they were on earth. I would love to hear what they would think of the world as it is today and whether they are glad that they lived in the time that they lived in.
I often say I was born in the wrong era. I wonder would my ancestors think the same thing about when they lived?
I think being my guardian angel for a day and chatting with my dad and my friend would be such a hoot. They would think it totally mad and crazy and the craic would be mighty, we would have such a good laugh. When I would have to leave and swap back to being me again, I would feel a little bit lighter about them being up there in the first place.
That old saying ‘Get your teeth into it’ is what I literally did. I drew a picture of the house I wanted to build on a small copy page from my daughters school copy.
At night, in my head, I would walk through the rooms and the next day I would adjust, move or replace walls, doors, rooms and re-draw the house until I had it ‘just right’.
I then gave my copy page drawing to an architect to properly draw me a house and plans.
We moved into the house after six months. I project managed the whole thing from start to finish. I sourced all the tradesmen and was very hands on many times.
When we moved in there was still work to be done. Second fix carpentry was one of them. I have bought the timber for the skirting and architrave which was lurking about in my hall. Many a time I, and my children, tripped over it.
Having ran out of money and patience I decided to go buy a mitre block and took myself off to my brother, who is an expert carpenter (although a very busy one), to show me how to use said mitre block.
After my 10 minute training session I proceeded to haul the timber onto my workman bench and into my mitre block (after having measured the door frames and angles) and picked up the saw.
‘Use it like you are cutting through butter’ my brother said. ‘Keep your index finger straight on the handle pointing towards the end of the saw’. He had demonstrated the position and said ‘just glide it, gently until you get your ‘nik’ then, take longer forward and backward motions keeping your sawing in a nice rhythm and it will be easier than you think’.
So, having gotten the teeth of the saw into the fresh (but dusty) timber, I began to do, just as he taught me, and got ‘my teeth stuck into the task’. I completed the remaining 4 bedrooms, measuring, cutting and nailing the skirting and architraves to the wall and to frame the doors.
No more tripping over timber in the hall and after admiring my handywork, it was now time to put on the painting clothes, grab my brush and paint, and get back to work finishing the job completely!
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