This is how I do it

So many people ask me this… “How do you do it, being a widow?”. I guess at 30, married 7 months, with a 19 week old alien growing in my belly, the question would never have entered my head. I didn’t know any young widows. I had no experience of it or no book to read. It’s quite a hard thing to explain to be honest. I hate the word widow for starters. People just think of black clothes (never liked black), take to the bed for a year (erm, I had a baby to feed), look sad all the time, (well there’s conflicting feedback on this!) sit by your spouses grave and cry (ok fine I do that, but very very rarely now). I am the exact contradiction of what the traditional widow is.

But being a young widow (or old one) can be exhausting. Instantly you start to consider everyone around you. My biggest struggle is trying to consider everyone’s feelings, taking every possible outcome into consideration. What will people think? How will they treat me? What are they saying behind my back? His family, my family? How do I keep everyone happy? Is this or that the right thing to do?! Sadly, it’s caused the breakdown of new relationships. I focus on doing the right thing by everyone else so much that I neglect to enjoy what’s right in front of my eyes. The judgement is real. You get into another relationship & all you hear is “it’s too soon”, “she’s not ready”, “she mustn’t have loved her husband very much”. If that relationship breaks down, for whatever reason, all you get is “it was too soon”, “she wasn’t ready”, “she obviously loved her husband so much she can’t move on”. Why does anyone feel the need to comment on someone else’s life, or how they do things? I am fully capable of loving another human being with my whole heart. It may be the same feeling as I had before, it may not, but how is that different to any other relationship? I am the only one who knows (well maybe my counsellor too) if I am “ready”. I have learned in the last few weeks that it’s time I stopped caring so much, and start doing what I know is going to make me smile.
My next struggle, and it’s a massive one for me, is feeling like I can’t talk about my husband. If I bring him up people get all weird and awkward. If I write a blog about him it’s unfair on other people. I honestly don’t understand why. When he was breathing I talked about him all the time, now if I post a picture of him, it’s too upsetting for people?! (I do get that, but consider for a second having his mini me, living and breathing and following you around all day? A pic doesn’t seem so bad now does it?!) Well…. he was my husband. He is the Father of my little girl. I am literally incapable of pretending that he never existed, and it’s so tiring feeling like you can’t post a memory that once made you smile. People do it all the time on Facebook now, but I feel like I shouldn’t. It doesn’t mean I am dwelling, or not able to move on, it simply means he was a huge part of my life, as much as any possible husband will be in the future and I’d like to be able share a wonderful moment we had together without feeling conscious about it. Just like this one… 


So like I said, I have one, very delicious tiny human. She is the centre of my universe, and to be quite honest, my reason for doing everything I do. It was bloody hard at the beginning. Even being pregnant and not having him around towards the end when he should have been here rubbing my feet. Delivering her  without him was one of the worst experiences of my life, when it should have been exciting. I had never been a Mommy before, and had zero intention of ever having to raise a child alone. I was absolutely petrified, but I have a seriously sturdy support network around me, and with my Mother/Father/Siblings & incredible friends, we literally raised her together. She is almost 5 and has turned out to be quite the perfect tiny human so far. Yes she’s a diva, yes she screams at me when things don’t go her way (I swear she doesn’t get that from me 🤔) but overall I am so lucky that she is so placid, just like…. her Father! 

I have a new found dependance on people and have realised that asking people for help isn’t as shameful as I once believed. I depend on my brothers to do some of the man bits, I depend on my friends & cousins to hang out with me and ask me to do things so I don’t feel so incredibly lonely all the time and to continue to keep me sane and glued together, and to listen to my worries & moans. I depend on my sister to get to Dublin from Belfast so Lily can hang out with her 3 cousins, and to come on holidays with me every year, again so I don’t feel so alone. I depend on my Hockey girls, the ones who just accept me for who I am, and treat me no different to every other team mate, they make me feel “normal”!  


And I depend on my Mom. My incredible, wonderfully understanding, supportive Mom. She has let me shout, cry, laugh inappropriately… Without her, life would be a real struggle. All of these people together, make life bearable. 


So how do I do it? I just do. I take each day as it comes. I take pictures, lots and lots of pictures, so when I’m feeling sad I can look back on the days that made me smile! I am so lucky in so many ways. We (thanks Mom & Dad) have a roof over our heads and food in our mouths and I get to make amazing new memories with a very beautiful tiny person. No, life isn’t or will never be the same, it can’t be. Yes there are days when I literally feel a pain in my chest because of the new life I’ve had to embrace. I hate what happened to us, but overall, when I take a step back, and think of how much worse things could have been, I feel…. content. 

I’m still breathing and getting to enjoy (most of) my life, which is something a lot of people never get the chance to do 💕

Huss X

Let them be little

I’ve been watching my tiny human a lot lately, and watching how scarily fast she is becoming less of a tiny human and more a little girl. I spent so much time when she was a baby, wishing she would reach her next milestone, wondering when it would be. When she was a baby, I wondered when she would hold her head up without me supporting it, when she would eat her first solids, when she would sit up for the first time unaided (13th of June 2012!). When she got sturdier, I couldn’t wait for her to crawl, to take her first steps. When she had mastered all of that, I couldn’t wait until she could talk.

She is now almost 5. FIVE! I realised recently, that I had “wished” most of her baby and toddlerhood away, waiting for the next milestone, hoping she would reach it quicker than the norm, instead of cherishing every single moment of it. We all do this. We all cannot wait for them to get bigger. But we need to slow down, and let them be little.

Children these days grow up so scarily fast. They have mobile phones, are on Facebook, are posting pictures on Instagram and have thousands of followers! I can now have proper conversations with the tiny one. She teaches me things every single day that I thought I already knew. No two days are the same, and the adventure becomes more incredible the older she gets. Now however, I have noticed, I am wishing for her to slow down. To stay as this beautiful, tiny, perfect little human being for as long as possible. I don’t want her to have to grow up and have to deal with ‘real’ life. I want her to stay as pure and innocent as she is today.

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I wonder sometimes when it flipped, from wishing her onto every next milestone, to wishing she would slow down. She is my only. She is my beautiful, tiny human. Before I know it, she will own a smartphone, and iPad, be a teenager. She is going to be getting dressed up to go to her first disco, then nightclub, then no doubt travelling, then possibly college/marriage/kids (in no particular order). She will someday move out and start her own adult life. (I should say maybe here, I had to move back in at 30….). These days I know will come so very fast, and will I will have to deal with them all, like a grown up 🙂

I have now embraced how perfect she is, at this very moment in time. How her little brain is a sponge and wants to absorb every detail in her day. I have stopped wishing her little life away, hoping she reaches the next milestone quicker than the norm. Before my very eyes, some day, she will be a big grown up human, having to deal with real life, real fears, real tears, real heartache. She will be a grown up for long enough, so for now, I am just letting her be little, and enjoying each and every second!

Huss x

To the Dad on the hill… 

My brother was minding the tiny human today, as I was spending some birthday time with my goddaughter. We met them after in the playground. My brother was entertaining the tiny human and another beautiful little girl. It turns out she was an identical twin. 

All the kids played together for a while, we went swinging, sliding, even flying an aeroplane to “Italy” 😏 The entire time we played, they kept glancing up the hill. At their Dad. I watched him in frustration. He sat the entire time, at a picnic bench, by himself, completely emersed in his phone. He hardly looked up. The girls played, and every so often glanced to the top of the hill, he wasn’t looking. Every time I looked up at him, he wasn’t looking. They had so much fun with my brother, the man who gave them attention, not the one who should have been. 

Now I have no idea what the situation is, and after everything, I try so hard not to “judge” anyone for anything, because we really have no idea what is going on… But I felt so sad watching this today. I wonder how long it would have taken him to realise if they had been taken by someone. I wonder what went through their minds as they looked up towards him on the hill. Most likely longing for their Dad to watch them for a minute, to play with them for a little while. They laughed and giggled with my brother, a man they didn’t know. 

I know myself how addictive a phone can be. I find myself having to make a conscious decision to put mine down now, and get annoyed with myself when I realise I have ignored a question, a demand, a cuddle, all because I’ve had to answer that text straight away, that tweet, or see how many likes an Instagram post has received. Or even worse when I get cross with her because she’s called me 6 times, then realise it’s because I’m looking at my phone and not her.

I know how precious the time I have with her is, how fast she’s growing up, the things I can miss in the blink of an eye because I wasn’t paying her any attention. I see her disappointment when she does something she’s proud of, and I missed it. I realise that in the blink of an eye, she could be gone. I see that now. I just hope that the Dad on the hill realises the next time and instead of sitting alone with his phone, he jumps on the plane, and flies to “Italy” with his two beautiful little girls. 

Huss X 

Parenting – My top 10

1. You are replaceable. No matter what you do as a Mommy, someone will always come in with a lolly pop and they will be more amazing. (This is after being recently told that it was ok if I didn’t hold her hand, and got knocked down, Nana would mind her.) Do not take offence to this, it’s just how it is.

2. Your bed is no longer your safe place. It will be taken over by the tiny ones, who need at least ¾ of it to be in any way comfortable. You will sleep uncomfortably on what’s left. It’s just not worth waking them. You will get over this, and eventually get used to it.


3. You no longer need sleep, in fact, the night you do get some, you will feel so horrifically hungover the next day and will regret ‘being sensible’ and not drinking that bottle of wine the previous night. You feel the same as if you had.

4. The tears of the tiny ones are the most powerful tool they have. No matter what they are crying over, you instantly feel like your heart is aching and you will do whatever it takes to make the wet things streaming down their face, stop.

5. Stop worrying about how much they are eating. A wise friend has drilled this into me. She is eating, be grateful for that. You will however continue to try and peel a grape if it means they will at least try it. (This is virtually impossible to do.)

6. They will get you when you are at your most vulnerable. It’s like they have an inbuilt intuition to manipulate you when you are at your weakest. This is a trait you may not appreciate now, but hope they carry with them in later life.

7. Elsa will become a part of your family. All dolls/action figures shall be named after her, and if you have any future children, male or female, the tiny ones will try to persuade you to call them after her. I would like to say this is just a phase, but chances are, 2 years later, it’s going to stick.

8. No one warns you during your decision to have a baby, or during pregnancy, just how incredible these tiny dictators are. They have the ability to turn any situation around, either by saying something hilarious after colouring on the walls “Batman did it!!” or when you are feeling a little bit sad “I love you because you made me in your tummy” (cue heart melt.)

9. You will no longer shop for yourself, but your tiny one will have the very best of what you can afford, as you look down at your trainers you bought on a wonderful, child free visit to New York back in 2002.

10. Learn to roll with the rollercoaster that is parenthood. No two days will ever be the same, and know that their personalities change like the Irish weather. They will make a liar out of you EVERY single day. “Oh she loves carrots, it’s the only veg she will eat” – as you turn around to see her retching as if they have just swallowed rat poison – on a carrot.

 

But honestly, parenthood is the most rewarding job I have ever done, and I wouldn’t change a single second of it (apart from the vomiting bugs, I would definitely question all parenting abilities during these tough times.)

So quick to judge!

He sat on the Luas, holding her tight while she screamed and shouted to be let go. She had been messing so much she was definitely going to fall and hurt herself. There were so many people staring, tutting, interrupting their quiet commute home… As I looked at the pained face he was making I realised we really are all so quick to judge. None of us know what this child was like, how she normally behaves. She couldn’t have been more than 6 years old. He dealt with it so well, stayed calm, didn’t lose his temper with her. I looked at him in admiration, I don’t think I would have kept my cool in such a situation. 

As I stepped off the Luas I thought of all the times I found myself in the same, uncomfortable situations. When the tiny human would lose her mind over the smallest thing because she was hungry, or tired, or just because she wanted to. The prying, judging eyes of others always make these situations SO MUCH WORSE. You start to feel panicky, when you know it’s the worst thing you can do. (The tiny ones can sense that you know!) You can feel the judging eyes burning into you, the ones who sit and stare and tut at the way you are managing the situation… We’ve all been there, we are all experts, we could all do it better than the other. One thing we all know, is when your child loses their sh1t for no apparent reason the best reaction is to stay calm, talk softly and distract. But how do we do that with so many judging faces looking at the way you are managing the situation. So many people making you feel like a bad mother, or that you can’t cope. 


The tiny human lost hers in the airport the other day. I left her with my boyfriend for 15 minutes, and when I came back she was bawling crying. I was so proud of him for the way he dealt with it. So proud that he didn’t lose his cool. He even got the famous “you’re not in charge of me” shouted at him, he still stayed calm. He got the high pitched scream of frustration, he stayed calm. I sat in front of her as she pretended to choke to death because there was carrot in her mouth, tears streaming down her face. I waited until she stopped crying, and I eventually gave in and let her spit the poisonous carrot into a tissue. The glares I got were incredible. Not one person in that restaurant knew our situation. I’m sure they were all thinking “what a brat to say that to her Dad”. Well let me tell you this people, I am SO proud of my daughter, of the beautiful little person she has become, of how she processes a Daddy in heaven and the new man in our lives, so if she wants to lose her sh1t for 5 minutes because she’s so tired she literally can’t function, then so be it. (I of course made her apologise to him, for those who are judging me!) 

If we could all just stop judging each other, then life would be that little bit easier. The next time you see a child losing their mind over something you think is so small, the next time you stare at a parent for the way they deal with a situation, instead of judging them, just take a moment to think about the fact that you really have no idea what is going on in their mind, and maybe praise them for doing it “their” way. 

The Fatherless Father’s Day

He never got to be a Dad, and the tiny human never got to meet him. Not one single photo of them together. Sometimes I find that the hardest part, imagining what she would have looked like in his arms. 

One day every year, there is one dedicated day to spoil the Fathers with cards & treats. Every year, for the past 4, I have a lump in my throat when I receive a laminated version from her crèche, so we can place it on his grave and hope it lasts a couple of weeks in this Irish weather of ours! The girls in the crèche are incredible. They, from day 1 have been amazing about the fact that she’s a little bit different, she’s just not quite like the other kids, she’s Fatherless. I hate the labels (I know I know, I’ve just given her one), but this is one day a year where it’s really drilled home. I have this very romantic idea of what we would do every year, breakfast in bed, running through the meadows in the sunshine all holding hands… (What?!? Is that not what families do?!?)  😉 

I have no idea what it’s like to be Fatherless, I have one, and have had every day for my 35 years, so this is the part that I find so difficult. There are no books, no guides as to how to do all of it. How to explain to the tiny human “well you know, you do have a Father, he’s just not on earth”. I know as she starts to understand the birds & the bees she’ll realise she wasn’t an immaculate conception, but right now it’s quite hard to explain. So I just go with it, I try to as best as I can. Some of the stuff I come out with is so ridiculous sometimes, and I’m pretty sure I’d be admitted if I actually believed all of it myself, but she’s only 4 so butterflies and fluffy clouds are all quite acceptable! 🙂

We have a wonderful new man in our lives now, he is great, and I’m sure some day when we all live in the same house, and as life goes on, things are going to be very different, but for now, it’s still hard to walk past the Fathers Day cards in EVERY shop we go to. I won’t be buying one. (In fairness with the cost of cards here it’s probably saved me a few bob over the years €€!) As she gets older I’m sure more questions will arise, more frustrations, but I know we’ll roll with them, just as we have done since she started to talk… 

On Saturday night I shall be raising a glass for all the Father’s who won’t receive cards, the children who have no one to hand one to, and this Sunday I will be sparing a thought for all the other Mom’s out there that will have a lump in their throats, not really knowing what we’re meant to do on Father’s Day without the fathers…. for whatever reason it may be.

Huss x

Please don’t think I miss him less

Please don’t think I miss him less, with every passing year….

Please don’t think I no longer take the time to shed a tear….
With each passing day and month, 

Life does continue on…

But please don’t think I’m all “Ok”…. 

I’m still trying to be strong…
I have my ups and downs you see, 

my happy times and blue….

Please don’t think as the years go by, 

That I no longer need all of you….
I try to keep things positive, 

I try, but sometimes fail…

For sometimes I can’t help it, 

I often feel so very frail….
My heart was smashed to pieces that day, 

And as the years go by, 

I’m piecing it back together…

Little by little…. That’s no word of a lie…
I have things to look forward to, 

A tiny human to guide on her way,

But please don’t think I need you less…

I need you all to stay. 
To wrap your arms around me…

Tell me it’s alright to feel this way…

But please don’t think I’m over it…

Just stay beside me and I’ll be ok  
Huss x