Navigate our site
I KNEW something was wrong. I didn't sleep again the night before last, tossed and turned and listened to my pounding heart and kept thinking, why am I so worried about my 18 year old son's future career? We can sort something out. What is the problem? But then I got that call, the one that explains your fear and suddenly everything else pales into a very different sort of perspective because all you want is for them all to still be alive. Just every parents nightmare. I had a call at 9.00am from one of the mother's of the boys inter-railing with my son. There are six of them travelling around Europe together. She said:- "Have you heard?" "No - heard what?" "There's been an incident" Heart stops. Fear. Cold sweats. Hairs up on the back of my neck. "What sort of incident?" "A fight. They all got into a fight in a bar" "Are they all OK?" "I don't know...no...not really" They're in Krakow, Poland. That's all I know. What has happened? Where do you start? Then all her words just merged into a terrifying frenzy of panic:- "one of them has been glassed in the face...eye...blood everywhere... ambulance ...stitches ..police ...four of them have been arrested...detention centre ... assault charges ... no phones ... can't talk to them ...others in hospital... and so on. I called my son. Phone off. I called his father, my ex husband and we kept each other updated all day, tried to piece together what happened and formulate some sort of plan of attack. Jumbled messages came in all morning. I spoke to other parents. Suddenly we had Consul people involved, friends on the ground who were able to find out some information for us and all day I tried not to be sick, tried not to fear the worst. Tried to get a balance between one of the dad's near total lack of concern because everything would be fine, they'd definitely be released to thoughts of "Midnight Express". Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. After a long long day of panic the plan was that his father was going to fly out. Find translators. Speak to the police. See what was to happen next. But at 7pm my ex called me to let me know one of them had been released and that they were proposing to release them all in 35 minute intervals. I called the father of the released boy and told him the news - he hadn't heard and I said "hooray! At least you know he's safe" and he said "I will not be happy until they are all released. They are in this together. They are a team, but thanks for letting me know". Five minutes later he called me back. "Have you heard?" he said. "No. What?". Panic again. "They've all been released". I can't tell you that feeling of relief. It makes you want to cry. Son called 10 minutes later. Sounded absolutely fine. More grown up in fact. Told me about the incident and again it all merged, this time into a blurry haze of relief that everyone is OK. One of his friend's has 26 stitches in his face, but his eye is fine. 26 STITCHES!! Who the fuck glasses people in the face. Despicable. mum, it wasn't our fault....bar..glassed my friend....but then the attacker nearly died because he managed to sever an artery in his wrist with one of the shards of glass...police were fine...they knew it wasn't our fault....we're all OK...what?...dad's coming out!....GOOD ONE MUM!....seriously?....it's all been blown out of proportion...OK I'll call him....no, of course we're not all coming home...we're carrying on...everyone is fine....don't worry....don't worry.... Daughter adds but I only vaguely hear her ..."this might be a good time to tell you that he's had an eyebrow piercing mum"....yes, very good time, don't give a shit, very, very good timing, I will probably care tomorrow, but today (only today), he can cover his entire body in whatever he wants as long as he comes back safely. Sometimes, I really really hate being a mother. You have to wear your heart on the outside most of the time anyway, but at times like this it's as if somebody is slicing it up into little bits. I wish there was a way we could protect them all more effectively. "Here is my arm, my son, wear it well, it will protect you against the dark forces". But you can't (which is probably a relief because we would both look stupid). You just have to hope and pray to something or someone that they will be looked after and then send up little imaginary cotton wool protectors for them all to wear AT ALL TIMES. Be safe. Be safe. Be safe.
It's Friday night. My youngest son is now asleep upstairs. It's quiet. Unusually so for my house. Teenage son is still away and probably at a tattoo parlour somewhere in the world and my daughter has gone to a party. I am trying to find a space in my life to think and work some stuff out and make some decisions, but it's virtually impossible. Nothing feels right at the moment. I am living in a war zone and can't find any peace. It shouldn't be like this. Lots of concerned friends have been advising me and trying to help sort out my "plight". The advise couldn't be more varied but I can't seem to find a way to pull together the bits that are going to work for us all so that we can just get on with living. I've had very little sleep this week owing to too much wondering and worrying. Perhaps because my blog voice has gone temporarily quiet and timid I've been writing notes through the night when awake. The sort of notes that at the time you think are EXTRAORDINARY. Little golden nuggets of thought. This morning, however, was a different matter. I had written: "Big muffs are it, like habitat". WTF was I talking about? Complete and utter rubbish. Anyway, here are the top 10 things I've been advised to do this week:- 1. Fictionalise the blog. 2. Name and shame everybody concerned. Myself included. 3. Stand firm and do not lose faith in myself and belief in what I am doing. 4. Don't lose your nerve, you are bigger than this. 5. You are doing others as well as yourself a service. 6. Split up with Builder Bloke (again). 7. Delete the blog. 8. Sell up and move away from everybody involved except my children. 9. Leave the country. 10.Get drunk. So apart from Number 10, I don't know what to do. I really don't. Number 2, the name and shame option was given to me by a lawyer, but I think that's silly advise. Extreme and unnecessary and not at all why I am bothering to write a blog in the first place. I wish my father was still here. He'd tell me what to do. I mistakenly asked my brother for advise in lieu of my father. He replied "to be honest, I really don't know what you should do, but you're right, your blog is really very dull at the moment - sorry". FUCK. HELP. DROWNING. It's not just about the blog. It's about my situation. The adults are all fighting. Which is SO bad for all the children. It's not healthy. We should all be able to find peace in our lives without this constant four way drama. To my mind, at the moment it mostly seems to come down to money. Does everything ultimately come down to money? "If someone says, it's not the money, it's the principle, it's the money" said Kin Hubbard. Is that true? Is money the root of all evil? Or is "the lack of money the root of all evil" as Mark Twain said (didn't he say a lot of clever things?). MAINTENANCE. It is this that appears to be causing the main problem at the moment. I can see both sides. I feel sorry for my ex husband because not only does he have to pay me maintenance for our children but he has to support his new wife and her three children. I also feel sorry for Builder Bloke because he doesn't have any work. He can't pay to support his children which is not a good thing. He doesn't like the fact that his children are supported by my ex husband, but he can't even pay to keep his phone regularly on at the moment, so there's not much he can do about it. The extremes in our situation are causing gaskets to blow, left, right and centre. Maintenance is being used as a power tool and it's a shame. Are there any solutions I wonder? Any suggestions gratefully received. And my thought for the day taken from my Buddhist Offerings book is entirely relevant to all involved:- "We really don't want to stay with the nakedness of our present experience. It goes against the grain to stay present. There are times when only gentleness and a sense of humour can give us the strength to settle down".