Falling apart is a particular speciality of mine. It's stitching myself back together that I've always had a problem with. I never have demonstrated much aptitude with a needle and thread.
In an effort to ignore the impending departure of my dear, dear friend I have been busying myself with household duties and Christmas preparations. I have been a whirling dervish of physical activity. Laundry is not only washed but also dried, folded, put away. The dishwasher has been unloaded and re-stacked with military precision. Kitchen surfaces have been scrubbed. The Dyson has made more trips around the house in the past two weeks than it is has over the past two months. All Christmas presents have been purchased. UK gifts have been duly posted. The boys have been placed in strangle holds to scribble, sticker and write a handful of precious Christmas cards. A 7ft Christmas tree has been purchased, installed and decorated and the house is awash with fairy lights and twinkly bits. I have even managed to source and purchase crackers.
I'm on top of things. In charge. Fully in control. Nothing has escaped my attention. I am Bionic Woman, Super Girl and Wonder Woman rolled into one. There is nothing I can't tackle right now.
Except the one thing that I am fighting with every last ounce of strength to ignore.
GOD, I DON'T WANT HER TO GO.
Strange how some friendships are like the most intense love affairs I have ever experienced. With Subversive Mum the connection was instant and intense. She has been my rock these past few months - and I guess I have been hers too. She has not only seen and accepted all my many neurosis qualities (some of which I had long forgotten) but has embraced them and encouraged them. As a result, I feel more like the vibrant, funny, snarky Nicola, jam packed with abilities and possibilities, that I used to be pre-kids. Which is the beauty of a love affair I guess. That feeling of simply being more alive. Like a more confident and happy version of yourself, that you half forgot existed.
And if I do allow myself the brief luxury of dwelling on the fact that she is leaving, I feel a sense of jitteryness and panic that is hard to control.
To the most casual observer I am my typical self. Well, probably a slightly more hyper version of my typical self. Full of witticisms and caustic remarks designed to entertain. For the past week I have been the Goddess of sarcastic texts and ironic voice mails. Oh, how my friends have laughed. I have rediscovered my 'amusement' gene and am using it on everyone within a 5 mile radius. Which feels great. I have been reaching out to other friends and frantically arranging play dates and get togethers for over the school holidays. (Heaven forbid there is a second of quiet time over the next two weeks to allow for potential contemplative thoughts to materialise.) I am making an effort and it appears to be appreciated.
But I am still unravelling on the inside.
As soon as I dropped the boys, gaily, at school this morning - for no apparent reason I started to cry and try as I might I just couldn't stop. Ridiculous behaviour at 8.24 in the morning. I sat in the car park snivelling into my puffa jacket sleeve, feeling all 'woe is me' for the alloted 15 minute pity party and then started the process of pulling myself together. I have tried a broad range of tacks on the 'pulling myself together' front but the one that undoubtably has the most success for me is using the stock phrases that my mother repeated adinfinitum throughout my childhood, with a few insults thrown in for good measure.
'Oh pull yourself together, you silly bitch'
'Get a grip, you miserable cow'
'If the wind changes, your face will stay like that, you ugly bearded over-emotional freak'
Then I dug through my coat pocket, discarding the lint, fluff and balled up chewing gum wrappers until I found my brave face...plastered it into place and continued to get on with my day. As has been the norm of late, I have been incredibly productive - even managing to find Johnny Drama a false mustache for his school assembly performance tomorrow morning (it's not part of his 'official costume' but he has been banging on about needing to wear one for weeks now so goodness knows what his teacher is going to think when he turns up with an upper lip and probably most of his mouth covered in black synthetic bristles tomorrow...).
Now before I have time to dwell on this any more it is time for the school run. Oh happy days, jolly hockey sticks and all that buncum. Thank goodness there is all this stuff right now designed to keep me busy, busy, busy.
And thank goodness there are friends who include me on their blanket circulation of 'feel good' (slightly moronic) emails, which despite the unoriginal content, have still been successful in making me smirk. Here's the latest:
Great Truths That Children Have Learned:
1) No matter how hard you try, you can't baptise cats
2) When your mum is mad at your dad, don't let her brush your hair
3) If your sister hits you, don't hit her back. They always catch the second person
4) Never ask your 3 year old brother to hold a tomato
5) You can't trust dogs to watch your food
6) Don't sneeze when someone is cutting your hair
7) Never hold a dust buster and a cat at the same time
8) You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk
9) Don't wear polka dot underwear under white shorts
10) The best place to be when you're sad is Grandma's lap
Great Truths Adults Have Learned:
1) Raising teenagers is like nailing jelly to a tree
2) Wrinkles don't hurt
3) Families are like fudge...mostly sweet, with a few nuts
4) Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held its ground
5) Laughing is good exercise. It's like jogging on the inside.
6) Middle-age is when you choose your cereal for the fibre, not the toy
Great Truths About Growing Old:
1) Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional
2) Forget the health food. I need all the preservatives I can get.
3) When you fall down you wonder what else you can do while you're down there.
4) You're getting old when you get the same sensation from a rocking chair that you once got from a roller coaster
5) It's frustrating when you know all the answers, but nobody bothers to ask you the questions
6) Time might be a great healer but a terrible beautician
7) Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes ages comes alone
The Four Stages Of Life:
1) You believe in Santa
2) You don't believe in Santa
3) You are Santa
4) You look like Santa
At age 4 success is...not piddling in your pants
At age 12 success is...having friends
At age 17 success is...having a driver's licence
At age 35 success is...having money
At age 50 success is...having money
At age 70 success is...having a driver's licence
At age 75 success is...having friends
At age 80 success is...not piddling in your pants