“Tough times don’t last. Tough people do” Unknown Author
I’m sure (and hope) I’m not alone here, I’m talking about when you go through those periods when everything just seems like such a struggle and you just can’t see any end in sight. To anything. Well I’ve recently been going through this!
Everything feels like an uphill battle and I feel like I can’t make any clear or final decisions and start doubting everything. Even what to have for breakfast! And for me a big part of this is living in such a mess, with absolutely no order. For someone that likes order and everything in its place… that’s me! I’m one of those people that arrives somewhere to stay and can’t do anything until I’ve unpacked, hung up my clothes, put out my toothbrush, toiletries and ensured things are where they should be. Yep, that is me.
I feel a bit as if there’s an expectation to have your s%^t together these days. Or is that just me?! I feel it’s my duty, and my job as a parent, that I have to be ok and look like everything’s alright (even if our morning has been like world war 2 trying to get Arthur to brush his teeth and I couldn’t find my knickers because they’re in a box somewhere amongst the pile of clothes and other stuff in our bedroom that looks like it’s been burgaled.) No one wants to hear about your awful morning or why you’re late. But sometimes I think when you’re trying to keep it all together it makes things feel worse.
Our way of life for the past 3 years has been somewhat of a challenge. Our lives have, and a lot of it still is, in boxes. I have completely and utterly surprised myself though, I mean I never for one second thought I could live in a caravan. But I did! Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not been easy. And I’m feeling fed up.
We are so close now to having the cottage fully live-able, we are sleeping in there, the main family bathroom is functional (however it’s not finished!) but we’ve still got no kitchen/ living area, downstairs toilet, utility room, ensuite or anywhere in our bedroom to store our clothes (apart from two humongous free standing rails.) The bedroom looks a little like we’ve been burgled. That’s another blog on how I am currently going through a life cleanse and throwing out all clutter, including half my wardrobe.
I feel like our life has been in limbo for so long… practically the whole of Arthur’s life (he is now 3!) and so far all of Wilf’s. I didn’t plan this in my head. It wasn’t how I thought things would be.
I remember thinking when I found out I was pregnant again with Wilf, how I couldn’t wait to enjoy my maternity leave in our new home, having all of his things in one place, and lots of time to dress it and make it just how I wanted it. I felt like I had a difficult time when Arthur was born, we were packing up our old house, moving in with my parents (which you’d think would have been easy with grandparents on tap), it wasn’t. Living back at your parents as a proper grown up with your own family, is hard. My mum was poorly too, which made things all the more difficult and upsetting. Then when we decided to rent, it was just another upheaval that at first was a welcome relief to have our own space, but then the house sold, so that’s when we had our bright idea to buy a static and live on site during the renovation of the cottage.
This meant my entire pregnancy with Wilf and up until very recently were spent living in the caravan, through two heatwaves and a freezing cold winter complete with some serious snow, not to mention a few storms when I actually lay awake at night convinced the roof was going to blow off or imagining the caravan being swept away (with us in it) and landing in a field! Luckily we are all still here to tell the tale, albeit a few of my beloved coats that were discovered to have mould on them from damp in the caravan over the winter.
I should look back on these times now and be thankful they are over. And yes I am, but now I feel like we have new trials and tribulations to face. I haven’t yet completely managed to rid ourselves of ‘that’ caravan, we are still cooking and eating in it. I’m sure we could manage if we didn’t have small children, but preparing their meals and milk etc requires a working kitchen! Wilf is also weaning now so I’m trying to save our new cream carpet. The kitchen/living area has no flooring down so with a little one on the move, it’s just not safe (or comfortable) to be eating in right now.
Over the weekend, I went to visit my 100 year old nan (very nearly 101!) who always asks about everything that’s going on in my life, including the house. She is one of the most grateful people I know, (alongside both my children) which is something I absolutely adore and admire about the innocence of children! My nan has lived through two world wars, losing the father of her child (my dad) at war before my dad was born, a few recessions and probably seen things in her lifetime we can’t even begin to imagine, and she is so optimistic. Nothing seems to phase her.
I pulled out some clean clothes for her when I visited and helped her into them. She was admiring the jumper I said I was going to dress her in, and she just kept saying how wonderful it was; the quality and the colour. She thought I had just bought it for her, I didn’t have the heart to tell her the clothes were hers already. But it made me think how I have never heard her say ‘I don’t like that’ or ‘I’m not sure about that’ or ‘isn’t there something else I could wear’. She is more than happy with whatever she is given. Completely content. She doesn’t complain. She just gets on with it.
I’m in complete awe of her, as I only wish I could be this grateful and content with life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not unhappy, I’m not ungrateful with my life. Not at all. I am so fortunate for what I have, and know it’s more than most. Just sometimes I need to step back and remind myself how lucky I really am.
My nan kept saying to me at the weekend, ‘aren’t you lucky you have your own home though’ after she’d asked me how it was coming along and I’d replied to say ‘slowly, and feeling a bit fed up’. We are so lucky, whether it has a kitchen or not, it’s somewhere we are fortunate enough to be able to call our home. So thank you nanny for reminding me of that.
Recently, I also lost my mum, as you can imagine it’s been a very difficult time and I feel like it’s only very recently starting to sink in that’s she’s not here. That I’ll never see her again and I can’t just pick up the phone to her or pop and see her. I saw her most days. I don’t think you can always account for how much your emotions can exhaust you. Dealing with something like the death of a loved one, in my case, my mum, is, hands down one the hardest most life changing things I’ve ever had to face. They say it gets easier or you learn to live with it, but right now, I can’t see that.
A lot of the decisions and reasons for buying this house is because of my mum (and dad.) The village we live in has always been somewhere we’ve wanted to buy in, and a big factor in that is because of how close my parents live to the village (about 5 minutes away). We keep our horses and (used to) keep our pig, Bazz there (sadly he also recently died). So just popping to see to the horses and visit my parents was easier than ever before. Now things feel very unfair, mum isn’t just down the road anymore. She was also my go to with the house. I have said in a couple of my Instagram posts about how my mum often advised and heavily influenced a lot of my interior choices, and knew all the best brands to buy.
I’m sad she’ll never see the progress with the house now. We had just made the main family bathroom functional before she died, so she at least got to see that. I sent her photos of the boys having their first bath in the cottage which I’m sure she loved seeing. I just wish I could send her photos of all the other adventures we’ll have in the house.
I know we’ll finish the house. People tell you how hard a renovation is. Most people say they’d never do it again. Then people ask why you did that or you should have done it like this. Well it’s not your house! Then people ask why you bought that now rather than do something they see as more important. It’s us that lives here, surely it’s our choice what we do and when. People also constantly say how lovely it’ll be when it’s all finished. I know that. But there’s times when you just don’t see this. And this is one of them.
But I thank my Nan for bringing me back down to earth and reminding me that yes, I am so lucky to have my own home and such a beautiful family. And I know she’s not here, but I know my mum is watching over us and can see the progress on the house. She’d also probably tell me to stop being silly and that everything will be ok, ‘it won’t be long’. Even though she’s not here to ask, I feel like my choices I make now on the house are still heavily influenced by her and in a way she’s part of our journey to finishing Our Pink Project. I hope so anyway. I don’t feel very tough at the moment. Far from it in fact. Living in chaos doesn’t suit me. But hopefully I won’t feel like this for much longer and normal service will resume.