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FF Rerun – Oldest Surviving

An unexpected free pass today, in the form a of rerun from last February for our FF prompt. Thanks, Rochelle! Click here to read my story.


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We Don’t Have Holiday Parties…

*** Trigger Warning: This is tongue in cheek. Mostly. But if you comment with a platitude like “This too shall pass” or “Enjoy these times, they go by so fast”, I will find a trigger and pull it. Merry Christmas. ***


We don’t have holiday parties, here in the Motherhood…

…Because we’d have to bring the kids along, and that’s not the kind of party we’re talking about here.

… Because at any given time some proportion of us wouldn’t be able to drink because we were pregnant or had decided not to drink while nursing, or just didn’t want a hangover AND a child bursting our eardrums at 4am.

… Because another proportion of us wouldn’t be able to come or would be terribly late or have to leave early, because the baby needed nursing or we’d just given birth and couldn’t really walk

… Because part of the point of a holiday party is to get dressed up and we didn’t have time to shower this morning (yesterday’s was somewhat cursory too) let alone put on a nice dress, brush our hair or dig out the makeup that hadn’t been used as a marker by the preschooler

… Because getting dressed up means finding clothes that aren’t stained with bodily fluids and then keeping them in that state long enough to leave the house

… Because we saw at least part of every hour last night (and every other night since this ‘job’ began) and frankly our idea of a good time is now 150 minutes of unbroken sleep. Or a shower, (see above), or going to the washroom uninterrupted.

… Because do you have any idea how many presents there are to buy and wrap and label and distribute to friends and family members? Ain’t nobody else gonna do that if we’re partying, you know.

… Because then who’d move the ****ing elf?


We don’t have holiday parties here in the Motherhood, much like we don’t have holidays or salaries or sick days.

But yes, dear, you go ahead (to the second? third? of the month) and enjoy yourself. You’ve earned it.

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FF … or not

Sebastian turns four tomorrow, so I’ve got cakes to bake and gifts to wrap … and slime to mix (Don’t ask!). My Mum’s visiting, which is fantastic, but of course I had an ambitious idea of all the stuff we can do with her help, like making a papier mache cave for one of his presents.

And then it’s the beginning of November, so obviously I’m recovering from a cold, have a chest infection and laryngitis. Everyone’s helping out, but I’m on an enforced rest programme.

So, I’m taking a pause from a few things, including the pleasures of Friday Fiction. See you again soon!



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Remembering Catherine

Ten years ago, my best friend called me at work to share the news that our mutual friend, Catherine, had died. Catherine was suffering from depression and ultimately it killed her: she killed herself.

This month, in commemoration of her life and our loss, a group of Catherine’s University friends are making an effort of collectively walking 250 miles – roughly the distance from her home town of Bootle to our university town of Cambridge. You can track our progress and read more about the project here. I appreciate many of you sponsored me for a walk last month, but to contribute to the cause for which we are walking, you can sponsor us in aid of mental health charity the MindEd Trust if you wish

It’s a great cause, but my main reason for walking is more selfish. Walking is proven to be good for the mental and physical health, so walking is good for us as well as being good for the cause.

I’m a goal-oriented individual, so I’m naturally inclined to check off as many miles as I can, but with little feet and little brains walking alongside, that’s rarely the way it happens.

Two weekends ago, I went with the family for a long walk in the forest. We enjoyed the changing North American trees, and a low-pressure couple of hours together looking for pine cones and pretty leaf colours. Then I went back to move the car, and walked for a while alone. It was a very different experience; freer and faster, but less social.

Then last weekend, we went again. And this time, one of the youngest members of the sponsored group got his first taste of forest walking. Dominic, who only started walking at all 10 days ago, did 100 steps or so of the 2 miles total. Again, we’d have been quicker and gone further if he’d stayed on Daddy’s back, but while those few metres add nothing to the group’s total, they are some of the most special to me, along with the times we stopped to show Sebastian the difference between evergreen and deciduous trees, or took detours to hunt crickets off the main path.

For the group, this walk is about an old friend, but it is also about mental health – both that of strangers and our own. Sebastian’s been walking for almost 3 years, Dominic for less than three weeks – they are both the strongest and best reasons I can think of for walking a little less far, and getting a whole lot more out of it as a result.


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FF Rerun – Spirit Lamps

An unexpected gift from Rochelle this week, in the form of a rerun. This story includes one of my favourite characters, so I’m very happy to take a week off and bring her back to you.



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FF – Purple Heart

Thanks to Ceayr for this week’s photo, below. I’m rushing this online before running out the door, but your feedback is always welcome.


Purple Heart

Lea had never liked the mirrors in the bathroom before. Their angle made endless, shrinking reflections in her peripheral vision as she teased out what the whole family called her mane. Knots, tangles and flyaways repeating over and over into infinity.
Today she’d worn it down all day, much to Mum’s dismay. It looked dreadful, she knew that, but then she always thought it looked dreadful and now it hid something worse – the purple ring on her neck. Heart-shaped almost. Nobody better see that. And Greg Luto better never do it again. At least not somewhere so damn visible.


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So proud…

I’m going to brag now. If you don’t like Mummy brags or you simply have no interest, please look away now. I’d feel bad about it, but I’m bursting with pride over my little hero and I want to shout it from the rooftops.
This morning, I woke him early, even before his gro-clock was awake, and drove him across town to the start line before he even had breakfast to join the 4th Annual

#WALKFORSICKKIDS. Breakfast was provided at Main Camp, then we set off walking.

Chance, and a very distracting train line, meant we were towards the back of the crowd from virtually the off. Participants of all ages joined the challenge – which was to walk anything up to 20km around the streets of Toronto, with activity ‘campsites’ and the chance to catch the bus back to home base every 2.5km – but Sebastian was by far the youngest I saw not to have a stroller or wagon to ride in.
We arrived at the 2.5km Camp with the trailing pack. It was there that we first met the “marshmallow men”, two guys on bicycles who were the caboose for the group, in charge of rounding up stragglers and making sure nobody fell by the wayside. They had sticks stuck to their helmets with marshmallows skewered and ready for toasting, and candy in their pockets to revive struggling participants. I wish I’d taken a picture; they were a real highlight for us both.
I had originally intended to do 5km. Even that felt like a big challenge for a little boy. He’s had a bad cold and a bout of croup in the last two weeks. Seven days ago, it was touch and go whether he’d be able to do this walk at all. A few blocks before the 5km Campsite, the Marshmallow men caught up with us and a couple of other families, and passed out lollipops to all the small people. Our support crew – Jon and Dominic – were at the campsite to greet us. The line for the bus was long and it was clear that anyone still at the campsite wasn’t going on, but when I asked Sebastian, he was cheerful and enthusiastic … and adamant he wanted to continue.
Jon and Dominic left us to get lunch. The 2.5km from Sick Kids Hospital to Riverdale Farm were long. We saw almost no other participants, the cheerleaders had all moved further up the route and the Marshmallow Men cheerfully waited for us at a few major intersections, but I encouraged them not to abandon the rest of the field on our account. But although they were slow, they were fun. Sebastian chased pigeons in a park, we sang songs and I danced (“Mummy, stop dancing!”), we talked about everything under the sun. We were in no rush, we were enjoying a walk through our city, and occasionally a stranger would come up to ask us what it was all about, having seen crowds passing through ahead of us.
At Parliament and Carlton, Jon and Dominic spotted us from their bus home and joined in the last few hundred metres. Sebastian is a happy boy, but it’s almost impossible to get him to smile for the camera… even looking at the camera is often a push. And yet every photo from today has him beaming. At 7.5km, I called time because he had already totally exceeded expectations and I had a feeling neither the activities nor the buses back to Main Camp would be running by the time we made it to Camp 10km. I’m pretty sure Sebastian would have signed up for more if he could!
We raised nearly $800 (you can still sponsor us here if you want to increase that!). We walked almost non-stop from 9am till 1.30pm and I’ll admit, my feet ache. A woman I met on the bus back said she’d done 17,500 steps. Sebastian’s stride length must be less than half hers, so he easily topped 30,000 steps today. Most of all, we had fun, took it at our own pace and for once didn’t have to rush or bustle or hurry anywhere.
I’m grateful to all our sponsors, to our support team, and to the patient, supportive Marshmallow Men. But most of all, I’m incredibly proud of my little hero.


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