I thought it quite typical of my gruesome twosome on Sunday morning. We looked up at the sky and immediately Tiddles commented on the beautiful sunshine while Smudgelet noticed the big black cloud. Talk about glass half full or half empty. I tend to err on rejoicing in the sunshine side of the sky while keeping a weather eye on the black cloud and making wet-weather plans at the back of my mind just in case. A pessimistic optimist or an optimistic pessimist, I can’t quite tell.
Today is a case in point as we are going over to the mainland for my dad’s bone scan. I caught sight of him from behind as he dressed the other day, and the weight is simply dropping from him, which isn’t really a good sign. And this morning he has yet another water infection which is going to make sitting around all day a bit of an ordeal. I’m trying to keep the immensity of the possible outcome of the scan firmly in its rightful place and simply enjoy a day out with Dad, although it might not be the venue we’d have chosen for preference! It’s at least a nice day for a boat trip.
Yesterday was another case in point, although this time it was my Smudgelet who was dealing with the black clouds. I am so proud of him – he handled them so well. I had declared my intention at the start of the holidays of keeping one day as special for each of the children – just him and me – and yesterday was Smudgelet’s. The day’s events were a simple choice as I knew precisely what would make his day. A trip on the hovercraft! And was it exciting!!! I had only been on twice before, so I found it almost as exciting as he did, and certainly the massive grin on his face was infectious. (Although, of course, he had to find something to moan about and decided that it would be the fact that he could never again get sympathy from his friends for not having been on the hovercraft!)
We found ourselves in Portsmouth. It was great to have the whole day at our disposal. Although I nearly managed to persuade him to take me clothes shopping…. I gave in in the end and we went to the aquarium. It was brilliant. Taking him on his own means I get to go again with Tiddles too 🙂 Smudgelet loved it and is full of tales of our adventures. How we saw real live sharks and their egg cases. How we saw a flat fish that was completely invisible against the sandy bed of the tank until it moved its tail just a fragment and we suddenly realised it was there. How we walked through a tunnel through a massive tank full of tropical fish and watched them being fed – our favourite was the yellow and white pyjama-striped Pork Fish, so called because it tastes like sausages (apparently) and oinks like a pig! How we watched the most playful otters having a whale of a time playing hide and seek and how we saw the most poisonous frogs in the world – and also the most ugly ones. Oh, and how mummy pinched his strawberry icecream milkshake when he wasn’t looking, and how the bubble-blowing fish he bought with his pocket money simply blew a spattering of bubble mix over anyone within range!
He was transformed, too, for the day. He never once said how he already knew everything and was really engaged with the exhibits, listening and reading and learning a lot. He was a delight to be with. And for once his money didn’t burn a hole in his pocket either. But what made me most proud was how he dealt with things yesterday.
I hadn’t wanted to break bad news to him yesterday of all days, although a time that was just for him and me was maybe the best in many ways. The news was fairly devastating – a (temporary hopefully) end of all contact with someone who means the world to him. A burden far too heavy for any seven year old to handle, let alone one who’s been through as much as he has. But he was amazing. He cried, then he “put his tears away” while he enjoyed, then took time out to have another cry and cuddle again. He explained that he was going to try to keep the happy and the sad in separate areas of his mind because both were important. Understandably he’s very clingy now – I feel awful leaving him for the day while I take Dad to the hospital, but I have no choice. But he’s a brave lad and he’s finding his own ways of dealing with it and keeping those clouds firmly in their place.
As for me, my tumult of feelings is staying tucked away in a corner until I get some time on my own tonight.