Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I'm going to leave the office in half an hour... and I am not going to come back into it until 4th January.

That feels good to say.

This is the first year in many I have decided to take the entire festive season as a break and do no work whatsoever.

Well, I may get the occasional call or need to respond to an email or similar but no "real work."

So consider this my "have a great holiday season" post as I am unlikely to be blogging over the festive season. We have family over from abroad and a lot going on... and the little guys are all excited about Santa coming. Then between Christmas and New Year it's my son's 7th birthday, so we have lots happening.

So to all of you, I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful Christmas filled with fun, turkey and (most importantly) lots of love!

Here's to 2011.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Passing Time or Filling Time?

The difference between passing time and filling minutes has been something I have come to grips with this year.

I've truly found that Fatherhood has taught me to fill each minute with memories and reasons to smile, rather than to wile away the time waiting for the sparsely distributed events of the year.

My Mother never used to ask me, "What did you learn at school today?" when I was a child. Instead she would ask, "What made you smile today?" And if I answered, "Nothing," or "I don't know" then she would tell me, "Adam, then you've wasted your minutes."

I've picked up that habit of asking my little boy questions like that. He looks at me with the same blank stare I am sure that I looked at my Mother with when I was his age.

Another habit I have picked up is the "ego box." My Mother used to take all the nice things people said about myself and my sister and write them on individual pieces of paper. We had a box each in which she would put these bits of paper. It could be snippets from school reports or something that a family friend had said. And on bad days or days (like we all have) where we had a downer on ourselves or were not feeling so sure of ourselves, she used to hand us the boxes and tell us "take a compliment." We'd then read them out loud. She had me do that until I was 19 or so.... I never understood the value of it until I was in my teens.

I do the same with my son now. Sometimes we all need reminding of the nicer things people think about us....

But I digress. I suppose 2010 has been entirely transitional for me in many ways. I have, though, thanks to my beautiful little boy and my stunning fiancee, learnt how to stop passing time and to start filling it instead.

Life's a gift :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Parents' Wedding Rings

My sister wears the engagement ring my Mother wore. It's beautiful.

When Carlos came to me and asked my permission to propose to her, I wholeheartedly consented on the condition he took the ring, had it reduced slightly in size to fit my sister's finger and used that ring.

He did so. She wears it now with beaming pride.

My sister and I were discussing my forthcoming wedding yesterday afternoon.

"Are you going to wear Mum and Dad's rings?" she asked.

"I thought you and Carlos should take them?"

"No...." she said. "You and Chloe should wear them. I've got the engagement rings. It's fitting that you should take the wedding rings."

So this morning before I left for to take my son to school (his last day before the Christmas holidays), I took them carefully out and tried my Father's for size. An absolute perfect fit. I have a feeling my Mother's will be the right size for Chloe but she's really very superstitious about trying these before the wedding lol and so we will find out on the day. I'm quite convinced it will be just right though.

"What are you doing?" my son asked as he picked his school back.

"Trying on my Dad's wedding ring." I told him. "This and my Mum's will be the wedding rings me and Chloe wear when we get married."

"I bet they're lucky rings," he said, peering into the box containing my Mother's.

"What makes you say that?" I asked.

"Because your Mum and Dad will be together forever now won't they?"

He says such beautiful things at just the right time...without even realising he does it.

Christmas Times Three


Last night was beautiful. We all sat on the couch reading Christmas stories and my son then volunteered to tell Chloe and myself about the Russian Christmas figure, Babushka (literally translated as Grandmother).

I knew little about Babushka prior to this and so was fascinated to listen to him recount the tales he remembers being told by his Mother.

"Babushka," he began, "was supposed to go and see Jesus with the three wise men. But the weather was really bad and cold so she decided not to go."

I had never heard this tale before, for all my reading up of Russian festivities.

"But then she felt sorry that she hasn't gone," he continued, "So she tried to catch them up and find him. On the way she gathered lots of presents for Baby Jesus. But she didn't find him. And that's why she first gave presents to all the children in Russia. Because she had Jesus' presents and couldn't find him. And now she comes back every year and gives presents out in Russia."

"And Santa too?" Chloe asked

"No in Russia Santa doesn't come. That's where Babushka works."

"I see," Chloe continued.

"But she comes later than Santa, on 7th January," he told her.

"What's about Russian children who don't live in Russia?" Chloe furthered.

"Well, last year the Three Kings left presents on 6th January and Babushka too on the 7th January."

He's right. We do observe all three. Santa, Three Kings (Argentine) and Babushka. My son gets no more presents than he would if we were only celebrating the one day. But they are split out. He will get the bulk on Christmas morning (25th December) but will then get a couple of gifts on 6th and 7th Jan respectively as we observe the Argentine and Russian traditions of our respective heritages.

"Because," my son continued with his tale, "Babushka, the Kings and Santa know that I am from 3 different places really, so they share the work for me."

I like his outlook.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lessons from 2010

5 Lessons from a Tough Year

It's always this time of year that we begin to reflect. We consider what we achieved in the year, what we lost in the year and what we gained.

It's been a turbulent 2010. I lost a close friend recently to a tragic car accident. I lost relationships/friendships with people during this year. But for the first time in many years, I am ending the year reflecting more on the positive that came out of it.

I gained a Fiancee. I strengthened my relationship with my son to the point of being unbreakable. And, more to the point, I learn some valuable lessons that will stay with me for the rest of my life and help me to avoid mistakes of the past in the future years.

Here's just some of those lessons:

1) Staying silent does not make it any less real. I have never been good at vocalising how I feel about something. Extremes of negative emotion have often manifested themselves in other ways with me - excessive stress, moodiness or even ill health. At the beginning of this year I sought help, having been a cynic of such help for as long as I can remember. The first few months were just unbelievably hard. It's like my counsellor prodded the sleeping lions and suddenly I was dealing with feelings I forgot I even had - a lot of them and all at once. It was incredibly tough. I'm still having sessions every other week and I find it much easier these days. I've learn that it's ok to say, "Ouch... this fucking hurts like hell." It's alright to let people see that you are upset. I've learnt I do my family no favours by adopting the very British "stiff upper lip" pose. Human emotion is as natural as breathing.

2) Unconditional love is real. I've never believed in unconditional love. I've always assumed there was a clause to every connection of love between people. But this year is the first complete year I have had my son living with me. He's been grieving his Mother who passed away in october 2009 and it was a tough year for him. But to take the silver lining, he and I are so close now. And he taught me that unconditional love is a very real thing. There is nothing that boy could do to make me love him even an ounce less than I do. The same applies to my sister and to Chloe. Nothing could make me love them any less...

3) Silence is louder than screaming sometimes. Sometimes there is just no need for venemous words or fighting and silence speaks more volumes than anything else. Plus... with silence, you damage nothing. And perhaps when the clouds have lifted there is a possibility of repairing what was broken, not to a place where it was precisely what it was before... but at least to polish it up to something equally as important.

4) There's no such thing as "too busy." Granted, we can find ourselves completely bogged down with work and other commitments sometimes. But if something is important enough, you make time for it. Even if it takes special planning and it might only be a few minutes, even if it means getting up 5 minutes earlier or going to bed 5 minutes later, if something is important enough you simply have to find a way to make it fit into your day.

5) There's nothing as important as family. I've come to appreciate my family so much this year. It got a bit disjointed following the death of my Mother several years ago. But we've rebuilt it... the "next generation," if you will... and it's the fundamental source of life for me.

It's been a valuable learning year, very much a transitional year with ups and downs. But the future is looking sunny (despite the layer of ice on the ground outside) :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

To My Sister

You’re stronger than you know you are,
With soldier’s soul and woman’s heart,
With strength and gall to brave the grief,
You’re braver than you once believed.

Dear Stacey

When I watched you cradling him just a day after becoming a Mother, I knew immediately that everything was ok now. You’re a Mother like our own, with the same strong morals and beliefs, the same determination to keep him safe and the same intuition.

It’s true what they say. Mothers really are the wisest people on the planet. I see it in you.

You’re a Mother first and foremost in life and it’s a role that seems almost as though it was made for you. But you are also a wonderful sister to me, an amazing friend to so many and I know Carlo believes you also make the perfect soul mate.

And you’re also a daughter. Just because our parents aren’t here, that makes you no less a daughter. You’re a daughter who faces the same challenges every single day – to wake up with an aching heart and I know you do. I know. I know it acutely and I know it when I look in your eyes and I know it when your voice shakes at this time of year when trying to avoid talking about the things that happened. You’re still a daughter, Stacey. You don’t have to pretend not to be.

And I’m here. You talk to me sometimes, but perhaps fear that I can’t handle what you need to say, or the tears you need to cry... it puts you off. I see that too.

I am here. And even if all I can do is listen, hug you and hand you a tissue, let me.

This Christmas will be the best in years. We’ll make sure of it. We have two little men there who are going to have the best day of their lives and don’t they just make everything worthwhile?

Here’s to Christmas, Stace... and an awesome 2011 in store.

Love Adam

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Changes :)

I spent an amazing few days in Iceland. We got one really clear "Northern Lights" viewing night and it was the most humbling experience. It makes you feel so small when you see something as phenomenal as that dominating the night sky. Nature is really very incredible.

My son, Chloe and I had a great relaxation session I feel all the better for it.

I took some time to reflect on the year and decided that, aside from a couple of really major upsets, much of what has had be down for some of the year is stuff I could have avoided by spending a little less time engaged on a personal level virtually.... and as such, I am letting my freebie store in SL go. In fact, I already have. Literally the only reason I log in these days is to pay tier and when it expired this time, I decided just to let that go. I'm just not in world enough to justify it any more and I have no desire to be in world.

I took some time to reflect on the lessons of the year. I learnt a lot... about myself, how others react to me and about others too. But everything is ending on a high.

And not just for me either. It's been a difficult 2010 for a lot of people I know, but for many, it's ending well. My best friend will be married very soon to someone who has completely transformed his life. I will be married in May. My sister will be married not long after and it's just a truly incredible feeling. There are former friends I care silently for who, I believe, are finding happiness too... in the form of new loves or whole new families in some cases. And these happy things are so, so well deserved.

2010 has been a year of change. 2011 will be a year of enjoying what came as a result. And long may the smiles continue.

Today, I'm listening to Biffy Clyro....

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


You dance across the sky

In shades of green and I

Look up and I wonder

Who dances there and why?

Spirits of the gone,

Souls of the lost,

Swimming across a galaxy

And simply watching us.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Being Dad

Being a Father is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Everyone says that, right? And everyone means it. I've had my son living with me for over a year now and I have known about him for almost 3 years (having been told nothing of his existence until he was 4). Time flies. But 2010 has been a year where I've really come into my own as a parent. He's lived with me for the whole year. He lost his Mother towards the end of 2009 and so this year was about he and I doing it for ourselves.

And while it's been such a tough year in many respects, it's been amazing insofar as how he and I have developed as a "Father and Son pairing." The first few months I knew my boy, as he was getting to know me and I was learning the ropes, I still didn't feel like a "Dad." I knew I was one and I knew I loevd him more than I had ever loved anyone or anything in my entire life... but I don't think I truly felt like a Dad.

Now, if someone asks me about myself, the first thing I tell them is that I am a Father to a wonderful little boy. And it rolls off the tongue. It's the first thing I think to tell people about myself and it's the most important role I play in the world. This year, he and I have grown incredibly close. I no longer feel like the twenty-something sort-of-a-man-but-who-often-behaves-like-a-teenager-trying-to-be-a-Father type of guy. I AM a Father.

And he is the most wonderful gift I have ever received.

Everyone comments that he's a "mini me." He has a lot of my mannerisms. And I find myself saying to him things my Mother used to say to me (thinks I swore I never would lol)... like "Have you done your homework." Or, "take the coats for the ladies." Or, "Hold the doors for the ladies," or "Look at the state of your school pants? Do you skid along the floor in these things?"

I wasn't the easiest child to parent, by all accounts. I had an answer for everything and was very cheeky. Though I was brought up so well that even with the cheek, I was truly a little Gentleman. Those values were instilled heavily into me and it's something I remain so thankful to my Mother for. Old fashioned chivalry is disappearing and it's sad to see. But I know there were days my Mother could have torn her hair out with me. If she were here now and could see my son she would laugh. Karma?

Because he's brilliant. He really does have an answer for everything. He's got this cheeky little smile and he knows he gets away with murder with it. He's got charm. He can get people (especially women) on his side in almost everything.

My sister found some old photographs of us as kids. On one of them, I am 8 years old and it's like looking at my son now. He has a slightly fairer complex than I do... his Mother having been very pale skinned. But he has the same eyes as I do. Exactly the same. And when he smiles he looks like I do on that photograph, albeit that he certainly has his Mother's chin.

We were standing outside my sister's house the other day, as she went back inside to get the things she forgot. She came back out laughing.

"What?" I asked, feeling cold and impatient.

"You two have the same 'impatient grumpy pose'."

We do.

In fact, he stands like me. He uses his arms (just the one at the moment as one is casted up and in a sling) the way I do when I talk. He nods the same way and he even has the same weird dislike of socks I have.

It's so funny to see.

But I'm waffling, aren't I?

This (somewhat long) post, was just an opportunity for me to indugle myself with a "oh god I'm so lucky." It was just a post in which I wanted to tell whoever happens to find it how proud I am of my little guy.

Anything in life that I previously could not understand the purpose of, fits into place with him around. His excitement, his laughter, his smile, the dimples he gets in his cheek when he grins, the face he makes when I know he's up to something... how he insists on dressing up in his business suit if he is coming into my office for a little while... all of his quirks, all that he is and all that he will be, I love.

I love him unconditionally. I never really understood what that meant before but there is cateogrically nothing that he could do that would make me stop loving him. I'd give my life for him without even thinking about it. I would give anything for him. He's my whole world in one tiny little pint sized genius and, just in case it wasn't clear enough, I might just the proudest Daddy on the world.

I love you, son.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

To the Mother of my Child

To the Mother of my Son

I've been thinking about you today. In fact, I have been thinking about you every single day since we lost you but perhaps more notably today... and yesterday. The dusting of snow brings a smile to his face and the Christmas decorations both in and out of the house bring cheer to his eyes.

It’s easier this year. A little. Last year it was so raw. This year he’s able to talk memories without crumbling. He paints your smile with his words as he talks about the festive seasons he remembers with you... how “Christmas is January in Russia.” He remembers very little of his Russian Christmases aside from that though. He remembers more of the first one he was here... the one we all spent together. He tells the same stories about that day over and over with increasing excitement.

He’s painting a picture for you for Christmas. Sorry – I guess I shouldn’t ruin the surprise. I won’t tell you what it is, but he’s putting a lot of effort into it. We’ll take it to the tree when it’s ready. Promise : )

We sit together, he and I, and we talk about you. We laugh at the sweeter memories. He shows Chloe photos of you and Chloe says,

“Your Mum was so beautiful.”

He beams proudly. He is so proud to be your son.  He is so fiercely proud of everything you were and of every moment the two of you spent together.

“Yes, she was,” he says to Chloe.

He loves her.... She will never replace you. She never wants to. But, Anje, she is such an amazing woman and a wonderful Mother figure. I know you’d want someone like her in his life. It’s what keeps me smiling, knowing how pleased you would be.

You’ll be with us this Christmas. I’ll be thinking of you. He will be thinking of you. It will be a contrast to last Christmas though, which was a little dark, to be honest. I know you’d have hated that and would have hated to see him so torn up. We’re making up for it this year. Big plans, Anje. A big, festive, family one. He’s genuinely excited. I suppose he feels like he has not had a Christmas in two years.

I heard that song you liked yesterday.  Maybe that’s what got me thinking. “Winter Song.” We saw it performed on TV just before Christmas 2008. Our son keeps your CDs.... the twenty or so you had in England with you. He doesn’t listen to them. But they have pride of place on his shelf. Along with the photos... the letters he writes.... the pictures he draws. It’s all you. : )

I’ve been thinking of you today...and yesterday. We both have.

In fact, we never stop.

We miss you just as sorely today as we did the day we lost you. But we deal with it better these days.

Always in our minds, always in our hearts.

Sleep well, sweetheart.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ah, Long Weekend

I had an amazing long weekend : )

My little boy, Fiancee and I put our Christmas tree up and went around the Christmas markets. We went to the cinema, went out for a great walk in place of our weekly bike ride (he can’t cycle owing to broken arm) and watched Christmas films.

I promised myself today off work and I have taken it. Chloe took the little man to school this morning and I wrapped gifts first – or tried. Why am I completely incapable of wrapping presents? Chloe wraps gifts of all shapes and sizes and they look amazing. I get left the “easy” ones.... the ones that are just box shaped and should be simple and they look, by the time I have finished with them, like my 6 year old wrapped it – with one arm.

Oh well!! That’s not one of my talents.

On Friday Chloe, me and our little boy are heading off to Iceland to see the Northern lights. We’ll have 4 nights there. I went shopping this afternoon for heavy duty gloves, hats and scarves. We have the coats already taken care of! The temperatures where we are going, ironically, are actually higher than they have been here in Manchester the last week though! Typical! It is forecasted to get pretty chilly! In Reykjavik, where we will spend the first day and night, it’s about 2 degrees... so warmer than here right now lol. However, in Akureyri where we will spend our second night, it’s minus 9. Still not as cold as parts of the UK have been but I bet that will be little consolation if we’re not wrapped up! So the winter wardrobe is well and truly ready and I am really genuinely excited!

Log fires, snow, hot drinks and one of nature’s most spectacular shows! I’m lucky :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

I Love December

It is weekend : ) Well, almost. I’ve been working really long hours the last few weeks. Had so much on and it’s been a case of leaving the office at 6, getting home, spending some time with my Fiancee and son and, when he’s in bed, getting back at the work until 11ish. I promised myself I would not make a habit of those sort of working hours again and as such, I’m taking a long weekend.

I’ve been out of the office the last two days with my son’s being closed due to snow. For some reason, this country grinds to a complete standstill when it snows. “Aaaaargh, it’s a really cold white flake of water!! Everybody in, protect yourselves!” But we have enjoyed it. I worked from home both evenings to compensate for the time off, but during the day he and I built snowmen. He’s got a broken arm at the moment and he can’t throw himself around in the snow as he might like. It’s been frustrating for him but he enjoyed building snowmen this week and yesterday (as it was really too cold to be out too long... we’re not used to these minus ten temps) we had a day in front of the TV with some Christmas movies, a duvet and a lot of hot chocolate. When I get quality time like that, extended to more than just a couple of hours in the evening, with my son, I always feel so refreshed for it. That little guy is so freakin’ amazing. He is a wonderful boy and such a pleasure to have around. I’m one hell of a lucky Father.

I came into the office at 6 this morning in order that I can finish early. My son’s school called yesterday evening to confirm they would be open today and Chloe offered to take him in on her way to work. That meant I could get up at 5, into the office for 6 and I can leave early. I am leaving at lunch time and I taking Monday off too to prep ahead of us going away for a few days and then my family from the canary islands arriving.

Then next week, Friday to Tuesday, I am in Iceland with my son and Fiancee. We’re going to see the Northern Lights. I’m ridiculously excited about that!!

A few days after we are back, my family from the Canary Islands will arrive for Christmas so it’s really all go go go!

I love December : ) (except for the cold)!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bad Parenting

I don’t like to judge other people’s parenting skills because I think we’re all flawed and we will all, as parents, make mistakes at some point. But I saw something today that absolutely disgusted me. I took an hour at lunch to nip over to the shopping centre to pick a few things up. It was busy and full of Christmas shoppers, as you would expect. I went into a toy shop there and in saw a women dragging a little boy out of the shop (he looked no older than about 4) telling him, “You’re getting nothing for Christmas because Santa thinks you’re a little shit.”

Wtf?! That’s humiliating for a child, it’s nasty and it’s callous.

It makes me sick to hear parents speak to their children like that, when there are so many amazing would-be-parents out there who cannot have children for whatever reason.

It’s disgusting!

As I said, there are few times I seek to openly judge other’s parenting skills but this wound me up. And while we’re at it, other parenting things that irritate me (I’ll make this my one off parenting judgement post lol):

- Parents who feed their kids ridiculous amounts of junk food. You will make them obese. You will make them unhealthy. And you will teach them habits that will undoubtedly haunt them for a lifetime. Yes, fast food is fine as an occasional treat. But a diet should be balanced and kids shouldn’t have junk food every single day!!

- Using the TV as a babysitter. It scares me that people do this. A friend of mine actually sees his daughter one day every 2 weeks... and I went round a few weeks ago to take my son to play with her. He just ad her sat in front of the TV while e played Playstation in the other room. I couldn’t help but give him my opinion on that. TV time should be family movies sessions or limited time that kids can enjoy their cartoons themselves. But I hate to see kids being sat in front of a TV all day. When I was in SL more, I would talk to people in there whose kids you could hear screaming in the background. They’d shout at them and tell them to “go watch TV.” It just made me want to scream, “Why don’t you get off your ass, out of a virtual world and take them outside to play?!” I can’t imagine why anyone, when they and their kids are both at home (ie no work, no school) would want to spend time sitting in front of their computer in a separate room from their child. Why not actually engage with the kids? Go have fun together!

- Stifling ambition or creativity. My son wants to be Prime Minister. There’s only one Prime Minister for the entire population of Britain so you would say, statistically, that his chances are slim. But why would I douse his dreams? He’s 6 (almost 7, I keep being reminded) so his dreams will probably change many times yet. But whatever they are, I will encourage him to go for them. I get that you have to keep children grounded and if my boy decided he wanted to be a singer at the age of 17, for example, but couldn’t hold a note, it would be time for a “reality chat,” where we talked about alternative jobs he could find in the music industry etc etc. But when they are young and the world is their oyster, I honestly believe you should encourage ambition, however unrealistic or extraordinary it might seem. I hate to hear parents tell young children that they “will never be able” to do something.

Anyway, that is all : )

The Art of Building a Life

I love to watch people build lives. No, I don’t mean in the biological Frankenstein sense! I mean I love to watch two people who have previously had quite separate lives build one together. Like my best friend is doing right now... like my sister is doing right now.... like I am doing right now.

There’s truly an art to it. It isn’t just about flinging two people together and saying, “Alrighty, so you two will be together forever, marry, have babies and live in a three bedroom house in a suburb, have nice jobs and eat dinner together every evening at the dining table while discussing the events of the day.” Divorce statistics, after all, speak for themselves. It’s not that easy.

Sometimes two people will think they can build a life together but as they start slotting pieces together they are left with unpatchable holes and this won’t keep the water out. Those people sometimes simply have to abandon the build and move on to other things individually.

There will be holes in almost every relationship at some point. Some can be repaired. I’ll use my sister as an example. She can’t have any more children. She fell in love with a man who desperately wants children of his own. As they began building their life it became evident this could be problematic. There a gaping hole in the roof and no single tile to fix it. So he went away. And she was sad. She was sad for a long time. But then he returned with a solution. He didn’t have one single slate to repair the gap. He had one that was too small and so they both sacrificed bits of themselves to pad it out a little. I’m going off on one with the analogies here... essentially they decided upon adoption. He is going to adopt my sister’s baby officially and they plan to adopt more. For love, he was prepared to make that sacrifice.

Nothing is perfect. Everything is flawed in one way or another and the flaws (and how we work around them) are what makes humanity beautiful.

I’m not perfect. I’m moody in the morning, I am impatient... I can be patronising. I’m sometimes arrogant. I won’t abide stupid and narrow minded people (which makes me a people-snob lol). But I think when you’re building a life with someone, it can only be with someone who is endeared to your flaws.

I say of myself: arrogant, moody, impatient, patronising and people snobbish. Chloe says I have a “sexy cockiness” (what? Lol), I’m eager to get things done, I’m smart and keep good company.

Chloe says of herself that she’s over-sensitive, that she speaks before thinking and that she lets things beyond her control get to her. I say that she’s sweet and caring, that she speaks her mind and that she’s passionate about the world she lives in.

The life we’re building together isn’t perfect, by any means. I find myself constantly worried about whether she is really ok being a step mother to a grieving child. She tells me over and over again, “I love him as much as I love you.” But she knows one day she could be (however unlikely it seems) a target for resentment. Or that one day he could rebel against her. She doesn’t care.

“I love him. He’s grieving. Grief does funny things to people sometimes and that just makes me want to be there for him more, no matter what happens.”]

Our life isn’t perfect.... we can’t live every single day like the two days we spent in the Lake District this weekend, for example. Because reality and practicality, responsibility and reason means that you can’t simply set up “perfection,” and live it. Our life is busier than we might likei t – but that makes us appreciate our quiet time all the more.

We argued last Wednesday for the first time. It lasted all of three minutes and ended in a kiss. Always a good way to end a mini fight. I know there will be fights in the future. I don’t know of any relationship that remains argument free. If you live with someone and never, ever irritate them then there’s something plastic about it – artificial even. And if you are irritated by someone you live with and cannot tell them, then you are in a relationship where you cannot express yourself freely. Arguing is natural from time to time... the true test of how well a relationship functions is in how those arguments end, if you ask me.

Anyway, I am waffling again.

I’m feeling lucky today (again!) and I’m still so grateful that I can watch the people I love experiencing the same happiness I am experiencing.

There’s a true art to building a life... and it’s compromise and an appreciation of one another’s flaws, a shared vision and equal desire to attain it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Boy

I'm proud of you
Whatever you do.
Prime Minister,
Manual Labourer,
English Teacher,

Whatever your job,
Whatever it pays,
I'll be proud of you
Till the end of my days.

Choose a job for YOU, not me,
Be whatever you want to be.

I ask for just these things, my son,
When all is said and all is done,
Appreciate your charm and smarts
But listen both to head and heart.

Tech Free Out of the City

I had a technology free weekend and it was wonderful. Late on last week, after a really busy and streesful week for both of us, Chloe suggested we disappear for the weekend, just me, her, our boy and our insane dogs! So we booked a cottage by Derwent Waters, Cumbria, for the weekend.

"Would you like a cottage with Wi-Fi internet access?" asked the agent I called.

"No thanks, that won't be necessary," I responded. And indeed it was not.

The most technological we got all weekend was watching the X Factor on TV on Saturday night. The rest of the weekend was spent sitting in front of a log fire reading, dragging my son around in a sledge outside (he can't do downhill sleding with a broken arm...) and throwing sticks for dogs. We sat on the marina edge drinking cocoa, wandered around the shops, walked, talked and rested.

It was wonderful.

Less wonderful, of course, was returning to the city to turn on phones, check emails, get caught up with work and so on. It's always such a come down after a great weekend, isn't it? But still, we loved it and it was soooooo needed. I feel a million times better than I felt last week, completely refreshed and raring to go.

It got Chloe and me talking about being out of the city though. I live in Manchester city centre. We have a big place, lots of space for all of us and the dogs and it's great to have everything on your doorstep (including my office). But I moved down here to keep me and my son busy at a difficult time more than anything else. We're closer to my sister now and we do museums, art galleries, theatre trips and all the big events regularly. He loves it... but he also loved not being in the city over the weekend.

I sold my own house out of the city to move into the city. But now Chloe and I are considering moving back out again. We'd stay within a half hour commute of the city, but some fields would be nice... some hills would be wonderful. More space for our son and the dogs.

It's certainly a possibility.

But what is a certainty is that the escapes out of the city in the meantime will be regular. My son had the time of his life this weekend and the constant headache that haunted me last week just disappeared over the weekend. We're going to make it a monthly thing, to go tech free for a weekend and just have family time away from the interruptions of the modern world.

Much recommended :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

An Open Letter to my Fiancee


On Friday I would have sworn it not possible to love you any more than I did then. But as we shivered and gazed out across a still Derwent Water on Saturday morning I fell even deeper in love with you. As we threw sticks for our completely barking mad (excuse the pun) cocker spaniels and we dragged our little boy around in a makeshift plastic sledge (no downhill sledging for a boy with his arm in a cast lol), I fell further still. As we clutched hot cups of cocoa sitting by the marina and watched that little boy write his name in the snow, I fell again. And as he sat on your lap in the cottage, dozing as you sang to him I fell deeper still.

As we lay in front of a crackling log fire that evening reading classic poetry out loud and laughing and wishing that our remote and quiet weekend away was permanent, I promised you that one day, when we’ve both retired, it would be. I meant it then and I mean it now.

As I stood outside that shop on Sunday morning with the dogs, I smiled as I gazed through the window and watched you helping our boy to pick out gifts for his Auntie and his cousin. I fell further in love as I saw you whispering into his ear, causing him to turn and spot me gazing through the window and laugh. His giggle is infectious, isn’t it?

And as we packed our bags back into the car to return to the city, to return to technology, emails, text messages, Internet access, phone calls.... I kissed your nose and promised our escapes from the city would be a regular thing. As our dogs and little boy snored in the car on the way home, and you “rested your eyes,” I fell even further in love with you.

What a weekend. What a woman. What a life we’ve got ahead of us, my love. You, me, our beautiful little boy, the crazy dogs... Who’d want anything more?

: )

I love you more with each passing moment, Chloe.

Adam xx

Friday, November 26, 2010

Proud Uncle

My nephew is adorable.

He's 19 months old now with thick curly black hair and big brown eyes. He's got the cheekiest little grin in the world. I called into my sister's this morning after takingm my son to school (I'm away for the weekend from tonight so won't see her for our usual Sunday lunch catch up). He came running over to the door with his Tippee Cup in hand shouting "Unky, unky, unky, unky." It's the newest "word."

Until my sister had her little boy I had never really spent time with children of that age. As many of you will know, I was not even aware my son existed until he was 4. While I spent a lot of time angry at his Mother for that, I look at mine and his relatinship now and I'm too grateful for him to be angry about missing 4 years. We've more than made up for that in the two years I've had him.

So spending time with a baby-then-tot was new to me. They're so funny at his age though. They have these little characters and he even pulls the same indignant "no" face when he gets told off, that my sister pulls when she does not get her own way lol. He has so many of her mannerisms.

His Father was a friend of mine. He was seeing my sister for a while but basically abandoned her when she found out she was pregnant, couldn't even be bothered turning up when he was born... or in the months after his birth. He did turn up drunk on her doorstep on Father's day this year demanding to see him. Needless to say, the door was closed in his face and at the moment there is some initial research going in to finding out if my sister's Fiance can adopt the little one. Her Fiance has been with my sister since the little one was born basically and he looks to him as a Father. He calls him "Dada," and in the brief few months he and my sister took some time out (he returned to his native Brazil before coming back) my newphew missed him terribly. The three of them are a perfect, perfect family. Her Fiance would love more kids, though after she had my newphew she had to be sterilised for medical reasons. He knows this and simply says, "well we will adopt." He only ever wants to be with her and you can see that in the way he looks at her.

Chloe and I love spending time with them and my son loves "being the grown up" around my newphew.

My baby sister has experienced her difficulties in the past and to look at her now, smiling, happy and enjoying her family setup is just amazing.

And I will say it again - my little newphew is absolutely adorable.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Weekend of Quality Time

It's been a manic week for both Chloe and me. So when she suggested last night that she, myself and our little boy get away for a weekend I was over the moon.

"I tell you what?" I suggested, "Let's go tech free! Phones off, no internet, no work, none of it."

She beamed.

"I'm in."

So I've just booked us a little cottage and tomorrow night, from 5:30pm, I will be technology free until Monday. Log fires, reading, walking and having fun - just me, my Fiancee and son and our two crazy dogs!


I think "face time," is hugely underrated in a society where we (myself included) depend upon technology. I love Twitter, blogging, Second Life - I communicate by email, VOIP and video conference a lot and sometimes it is just nice to be inaccessible.

"You never spend time in Second Life," Chloe mentioned the other day. She knows before she and I were together I spent a lot of time immersed in that virtual world.

"So?" I asked.

Chloe created an avatar a while back (Chlo Calamity) in order that she could see what I enjoyed so much about the platform. But she only logged in briefly while she was away on a business trip and we never bothered going back in.

"Why would I want you in a virtual world when I have the real thing right here?" I asked. "I'm not THAT addicted to it!"

We laughed and she beamed.

Soe's fascinated by the platform still, so whenever I log in, she will sit beside me... we will talk on mic together to some of my friends and she enjoys looking at what people have created in there. She might choose to explore the world further at some point, but right now, as we both work with technology all the day long, it's nice to just enjoy "face time."

And that's what this weekend is about - forgetting the rest of the world for just two days, taking our dogs and little boy and just going having some quality family time.

We all need that from time to time :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Blue Cuban Skies

I fell in love with Cuba when I visited 3 years ago. The deep blue Havana skies at night coupled with the relative calm of the city (compared to other world capitals) just resonated with me. I love the colonial architecture, the palm lined streets, the posters and propaganda from a history tainted with revolution...

I planned to go back as soon as possible and it was always going to be this summer. I wanted my son to see the island.

Chloe mentioned that she did not want a church wedding last week.... I was relieved. She is not religious but I know her parents had mentioned a church wedding. I would have given her a church wedding had she so desired that, though I would have felt a complete hypocrite given that I am not Christian.

“I’d love to get married on a white beach...”

And the conversation went from there. We had talked about holidaying in Cuba anyway this year and have now decided to marry there. We’ll be getting married on 7th May 2011 with our close friends and our families. They will spend a few days out there with us, before going home and leaving us to Honeymoon.

I can’t wait.

I’m counting the days...164 to be precise. 164 days until I become the husband of the most beautiful lady on the planet. 164 days until she shares a name with me. 164 days until we make the lifelong commitments we have already pledged “official.”

On the Atlantic coast of the Caribbean Island of Cuba, on the white sand of Varadero beach, I’ll commit everything to her. Because she’s everything to me.

My son is going to be a pageboy and is very excited by his role. While he refers to Chloe in person as “Chloe,” her refers to her to my sister as “Mum,” from time to time.... He’s welcomed her into his life in a Motherly role and she loves him only as a Mother could. She will never replace the memory of Anje (his Mother) but her presence is bringing him peace and happiness. And seeing the two of them together makes my heart leap.

This is what family feels like : )



I’m a straight male. I’ve always known it, never been curious. But I know plenty of people who have faced problems as a result of their sexuality and it’s so disappointing that, in the 21st century, in a time when we’re capable of sending men to the moon, of exploring the inner workings of our bodies with tiny robotic cameras, a time when we can carry out organ transplants and communicate from our home, via video, with someone thousands and thousands of miles away – that some people and institutions (ahem, Catholic Church, cough cough) still struggle to accept homosexuality.

It seems there is a gulf between male homosexuality and female sexuality in how it is perceived too. For example, people perceive female homosexuality to be “cool,” in some cases (often younger people I find). Actually... my former Second Life partner actually pretended to me and everyone else that she had been in a lesbian relationship. It eventually emerged that the supposed lesbian partner did not exist. While that type of white lying is often a trait that you associate with younger women, this was a woman in her 30s and for me highlights the fact that it’s seen as in some way “cool” for women to be homosexual – top the extent that straight women will completely make up lesbian relationships.

However, the reality is that while some with no understanding think it “cool,” for women, there are situations in which gay women and men face real issues. My Fiancee lived with a woman for years. She and I are friends with this woman. Chloe always believed she would spend her life with a woman. She does not refer to herself as homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual.

“Why do we have to be labelled by who or what we are sexually turned on by?” she asks.

Good question.

Instead she explains, “For every 1000 women I meet, I might find 100 attractive. For every thousand men I meet, I might be attracted to 1. That doesn’t mean I should be labelled.”

Couldn’t agree more.

But she was discriminated against based on the fact that she lived with a woman. Her grandparents stopped speaking to her. Some of her school friends stopped speaking to her. And why? Because her partner wasn’t male. What ridiculous and narrow minded discrimination.

Another friend of mine, Andy, came out fairly recently. I admit, I struggled with it for a few weeks. I was used to seeing him with women and I didn’t exactly warm to his boyfriend being around all the time. Turns out that first boyfriend was an asshole anyway... but once I knew he was happy and had met someone else, I couldn’t have been happier for him. He will be having a Civil Partnership ceremony in January and I am to be his best man. He’s fallen in love. But at a price.... his Father no longer speaks to him. And why? Because his partner is not female. And when you put it like that, how frikkin ridiculous is that??

It just beggars belief that in a supposedly advanced society, people are ever treated according to whether they are attracted to people of the same or of the opposite sex. What the Hell does it matter?? What people should be judged on is their character and their work ethic, if you ask me, not on who they are attracted to.

It’s time we started behaving like a 21st century society and put these stupid archaic ideas behind us.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

On Infidelity

I believe wholeheartedly that some people are just not built to be monogamous. But I am not one of those people.

I have never in my life been unfaithful to anyone I have been in a relationship – I haven’t even kissed anyone else or so much as considered it while I have been in a relationship. In return, I expect the same loyalty and fidelity from whoever I am with and in all but two relationships I have been fortunate enough to enjoy that same respect.

The reason I started this post the way I did is that I was debating with a guy I know earlier on about his setup. His wife just left him because he slept with someone else.

“You can’t seriously blame her?” I questioned.

“Some people aren’t made to be monogamous,” was his defence.

Our debate went on. But I essentially told him is that I agree – some people are not supposed to be monogamous and I know biologists who would argue that this is just the “human condition.”

I don’t believe we are incapable of monogamy, but I think some people definitely are. However, rather than this being a defence for someone being unfaithful to their wife or partner, I think it’s quite the contrary.

“So why the Hell do you even enter into a monogamous relationship if you know you cannot do it?” I asked my friend.

He had no response.

See, I genuinely believe that you owe it not only to potential partners but to yourself too that if you are either not ready for monogamy or just “aren’t built for it,” that you don’t enter into a relationship with someone who wants that from you. You either need to engage in open relationships or none.

I wasn’t ready for monogamy in my late teens... or really early twenties. I then committed to a monogamous relationship at 22 and remained faithful within it. After that and following the death of my Mother, it wasn’t something I wanted. And so I had a series of casual relationships were both parties were happy with that setup. It has only been in the last year or so that I have really considered myself 100% ready for commitment and for offering up the rest of my life to someone.

You just know when it’s right. For the first time in my life I look at the woman I am with and know that I never, ever, ever want to be next to someone else, that I only ever want my fingertips to dance across her skin and that I will never utter an “I love you,” to anyone else. That makes my heart leap with joy. But I know for some people that concept is hideous lol.

I don’t believe anyone should be looked down on for being the type of person who does not engage in monogamy. The only time it’s an issue is if they expect it in return from someone else and promise their loyalty with no intention of following that through.

But for me... Well I’ve got everything I want in one woman. Why would I look anywhere else?

Reasons to Smile

Today the sun is shining in Manchester. It’s bloody cold, granted. But the sky is blue. My little boy has gone off to school with his arm in a cast, armed with coloured pens that he will have his friends use to sign said cast. He’s feeling much chirpier.

Despite some drama last night (and a lot of lies from a former) I woke up feeling refreshed and good this morning. Chloe helps put things in perspective:

“Even if 100 people believe her lies, you can keep your head up knowing the truth.”

She has a point.

I tried to be friends with her. It failed. That’s fine. My conscience is clear and I simply intend to ignore any further correspondence. My issue is not in her wanting to not be friends. Everyone deals with formers differently. My issue is that she lied about it – claiming I was trying to get her back or something. I’m happily engaged. But my conscience remains clear.

On a much happier note, when I picked my son up from the hospital yesterday, I spoke to a teacher who was with him awaiting my arrival. She was saying how well he is doing at school, how much happier he seems these days and how much better he is dealing with his emotions etc. Society tends to believe that men shouldn’t express emotion publicly... that it’s EMO or that it’s just “unmanly.” And boys of even my son’s tender age pick up on that. In light of his loss and grief I have been trying to unteach those lessons. Anyone who genuinely believes men should not be able to publicly express emotion should not be parenting boys. It’s that simple. Chloe and I were aware of improvements in his general mood over recent months and it was great to get those reiterations from his teacher and the reassurance I sought that those improvements have carried over when he is at school too.

The first weekend in December will be an amazing one. I am taking my boy and my Fiancee to see the Northern Lights in Iceland. I’m incredibly excited about it. My son is almost wetting himself with excitement. He has the number of days to that and to Christmas marked down on his calendar.

And we have our wedding date set (after finally managing to find a date that works for everyone. 7th May 2011. We’ve decided on Cuba. We’re taking our close family and friends for a few days... then they will return home and we will honeymoon there. These are exciting times.

And my sister is getting married in the summer too. I will be giving her away and to the most amazing guy too.

#reasonstosmile I believe : )

Monday, November 22, 2010

One Broken Arm

I got a call this afternoon from my son’s school telling me he had been taken into hospital having endured a nasty fall while playing football. The result: one broken arm and a frown.

“Will it be fixed by Christmas, please?” he asked the Nurse after his tears had all dried.

“Well..maybe. But it might take 6 weeks so we can’t be sure?”

“Oh no.” He was down because in 4 weeks his cousins will arrive from the Canary Islands to spend Christmas with us. He wants to be able to go ice Skating and do all manner of other things but with his arm casted it’s unlikely.

Hearing about my little boy’s blues, Chloe finished work early and came home with cakes and coloured felt tip pens. She signed his cast in a bright blue pen, finished off with a little red smiley and encouraged him to get his friends at school to do the same thing.

He’s suddenly much chirpier and she and him have taken a little walk out to pick up Burritos while I finish one or two things I couldn’t do this afternoon.
Oh dear. Well, at least broken bones heal : )

Life is a Train Track

Life is a Train Track

I’ve come to the conclusion that life is a train track. There’s countless numbers of trains using it at any one stage, each occupied by different types of people and the track is infinite in length. Sometimes it can feel as though the scenery is the same for miles on end and sometimes you are almost certain that you are simply travelling around in circles. But you’re not. Even if it does look that way from time to time.

I got off the train a while back. In fact, there are two notable occasions in my life where I have got off the train. It’s not ideal, but as long as you make sure you stick by the side of the track, it’s ok to do that when you really need to just stop or slow down. Sometimes you just sit by the side of the track while the trains continue to go past at speed. Sometimes you get to your feet and begin walking. And you can almost guarantee that, at some point, someone will extend an arm out of a passing train and try to pull you in. Put if you’re not ready to get back on board, all that happens is you hurt their arm. Worse still, you end up pulling them off the train too. That’s why I’ve always found it best to push helping hands back inside windows.

“Don’t try to help me. I’ll only end up hurting you too.”

From time to time, people leave the tracks altogether – voluntarily. For most people, they hear about this more than witnessing it themselves. I suppose for those people the journey is just too tough. But for me, I never wanted to leave the journey. I just needed to take a break from it. So I crouched down for a while beside the passing trains and held my head in my hands. I could hear the trains but rarely opened my eyes to see them. 6 months, I spent like that.

I was 24. And already I was travel worn and weary. My sister was 21 and stayed on the train better than I did.

When I eventually found the strength to board a train again, I realised just how far it had travelled without me. The trains keep moving, even if you decide to get off for a while. And I vowed, after that, I wouldn’t get off again.

But I did.

Granted. I didn’t sit still by the tracks the second time. I had a young son to think of too and I suppose that prevented me from stopping altogether. But I slowed down and walked beside the train for a while.

Several people extended hands from windows but one hand was more notable than most. I tried to push it back inside the window and when it wouldn’t go I pushed back harder. It kept coming back and trying to pull me aboard again. The intentions were pure. Eventually I gripped but without the effort required to pull myself back aboard, I ended up pulling her from her own train.

Eventually we both got back abroad, albeit back aboard different trains. And now, whenever my own train passes someone on the side of the tracks, I recognise instantly what they’re doing there. You can tell almost immediately whether they want a hand and the sad fact of the matter is that unless they want one, they won’t accept yours.

I won’t be getting back off the train again. I’ve got all that I want on board my carriage and wherever we travel, we’ll travel together. The scenery won’t always be pretty, I’m sure and a hazard of train travel is the dark tunnels. But there’ll always be light at the end of them.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I'm Me

I'm me. I'm I.
The brown-eyed
Son of two soulmates
Who were always destined
For more beautiful things
Than this world
Could ever afford them.

I'm me, the guy
Who always seeks why
When the most satisfying
Answer is
"Hey, that's just life."

I'm me and my
Empty dark life
Was lit by the stars
In my son's
Big brown eyes.

I'm me, a brother,
A Mummy's boy
Without a Mother,
The proudest Father
A husband-to-be,
Prone to over-thinking
Prone to self-pity.
But wise enough now
That it never last long

Before I wake myself up
And I tell me I'm wrong
To feel hard done by
When I have in my life
A beautiful, wonderful
The best friends on the Earth,
A wonderful sister,
Best son in the world.

I'm me, the guy,
Who doesn't always get it right.
But who's learning
Through his yearning
That it will be right this time.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

No Compromise

No Compromise

There are some things that I will not compromise on when it comes to relationships. By the same token, there are always some compromises that have to be made and that’s a part of life, but the things I insist upon having in a relationship (and that I thankfully have in my beautiful Fiancee) are:-

- An understanding of my role as a parent. My son is the most important thing in my whole life. My former was understanding of it and I have also been lucky that my Fiancee not only accepts it, but embraces it and absolutely loves it.

- Ambition. I’ve never been good at being with people who have no ambition. There’s nothing wrong with doing a 9-5 and just wanting to “pay the bills.” But the nature of my personality is that I am ambitious and I cannot be with people who are not. I like to be with someone with dreams – and not just dreams that sit there dormant occupying their thoughts on lazy afternoons. I mean dreams they work towards achieving. Whether it’s being a novelist, running their own business or getting promoted. I just like someone who had a dream and who does something to achieve it.

- Intelligence. Call me a snob if you will but I love intelligent girls and I have to be with someone who can hold a conversation and (now this will make me sound snobby) spell and use punctuation. Perhaps it’s the writer within but I’m pedantic when it comes to words (typos exempt lol). Brains do matter. This boy digs the brainy girls and my Chloe is certainly up there : )

- A sense of tradition. So call me old fashioned but I like to open doors, take coats and pull out chairs for my beautiful Fiancee. This is something I picked up growing up with a committed Argentine Catholic Mother. Her friends would come around when I was just a little boy and I learnt from then that when ladies come to the house you look after them. I think chivalry is underrated. I’ve dated women who have been offended by it, though, which is disappointing. I really think the traditional Gentleman’s role is dying...

I can’t compromise on those things. They are too important. And I just feel so completely blessed to have found someone who “fits the bill,” and who loves me as much as I love her.

Everyone has things they won’t compromise on, surely? What are yours?

Man Up??

I’ve spent years upon years pretending shit doesn’t hurt. Nobody ever told me I had to be that way, but it’s a commonly conceived idea that men who talk about feelings are wusses. Right?


I made changes to the way I handle emotion in general because I was absolutely TERRIFIED that I would pass on my inability to communicate emotion to my son. And when he lost his Mother, the last thing I wanted him to do was clam up and become the sort of person I was – who would lash out in anger because he has no other means of dealing with the problems he is experiencing.

I read about a teenage boy who killed himself. He was being bullied at school and nobody knew. He didn’t tell anyone. And that’s so common amongt boys – to keep secrets. Hiding things, not talking. We, the muscle bearing men of this world who pride themselves on their masculinity, we puff out our chests, we roar in defiance no matter what is happening!! That’s what people see.

And then we go home and we lock ourselves away and tormented by everything we cannot or will not even allow ourselves to think about in public we tear ourselves up from the inside out.

I will not be like that anymore. And I will not let my son turn into that man. Here’s a few things I wouldn’t had admitted a year ago:-

- I cried when Chloe told me she would be my wife because I was so unbelievably delighted at the life I know I am going to have with her.

- Then I cried as I lay awake that night because I wish so much that my mother had been alive to hear this news.

- I get choked up when I hear songs my son’s mother used to like.

If people think that makes me “effeminate,” or weak, so what? I actually put it to the people who think men should be emotionally impenetrable that it actually takes more balls to stand up and admit this stuff than it does to pretend you don’t give a shit and just lash out at everyone trying to help.

I’m not angry anymore. I was. For a long time. But I think breaking down the barrier that was stopping me talking about things that bothered me got rid of all that anger.

But I’m still a gym-o-holic and I still like to flex my muscles. I still like to think I’m tough. I just don’t pretend I’m invincible anymore.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I love Pablo Neruda. I love every word that man ever penned and I love the fact that he’s one of few people whose works in Spanish actually don’t lose anything when translated into English. Such is the beauty of his words and his ability to see something amazing in his mind and pen it, that it doesn’t matter what language it is in. Its meaning remains and its effect on the reader is just as strong.

I was reading some Neruda last night again. There are some poems I have not read in many months and I revisited them last night, sitting alone in front of my balcony doors and watching the city lights as I took in arguably the most beautiful words in the world. It was serene. I stole that half hour last night as “me time,” after my little boy had gone to bed and after my Fiancée had fallen asleep on the couch. It was the most relaxed half hour I have had in as long as I can remember and I slept amazingly well after that.

I enjoyed those words, then closed the book, woke my sweetheart up (can’t let her sleep on the couch all night no matter how cute she looked... she’d have had a very sore back this morning) and we went to bed.

So, while Neruda’s words wander my mind, I want to share two of my favourites. (Needless to say none of the works below are my own....)

Soneto XLV – Pablo Neruda

No estés lejos de mí un solo día, porque cómo,
porque, no sé decirlo, es largo el día,
y te estaré esperando como en las estaciones
cuando en alguna parte se durmieron los trenes.

No te vayas por una hora porque entonces
en esa hora se juntan las gotas del desvelo
y tal vez todo el humo que anda buscando casa
venga a matar aún mi corazón perdido.

Ay que no se quebrante tu silueta en la arena,
ay que no vuelen tus párpados en la ausencia:
no te vayas por un minuto, bienamada,

porque en ese minuto te habrás ido tan lejos
que yo cruzaré toda la tierra preguntando
si volverás o si me dejarás muriendo.


Don't go far off, not even for a day, because --
because -- I don't know how to say it: a day is long
and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station
when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep.

Don't leave me, even for an hour, because
then the little drops of anguish will all run together,
the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift
into me, choking my lost heart.

Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve on the beach;
may your eyelids never flutter into the empty distance.
Don't leave me for a second, my dearest,

because in that moment you'll have gone so far
I'll wander mazily over all the earth, asking,
Will you come back? Will you leave me here, dying?


Se van rompiendo cosas
en la casa
como empujadas por un invisible
quebrador voluntario:
no son las manos mías,
ni las tuyas,
no fueron las muchachas
de uña dura
y pasos de planeta:
no fue nada y nadie,
no fue el viento,
no fue el anaranjado mediodía
ni la noche terrestre,
no fue ni la nariz ni el codo,
la creciente cadera,
el tobillo,
ni el aire:
se quebró el plato, se cayó la lámpara,
se derrumbaron todos los floreros
uno por uno, aquél
en pleno octubre
colmado de escarlata,
fatigado por todas las violetas,
y otro vacío
rodó, rodó, rodó
por el invierno
hasta ser sólo harina
de florero,
recuerdo roto, polvo luminoso.
Y aquel reloj
cuyo sonido
la voz de nuestras vidas,
el secreto
de las semanas,
que una a una
ataba tantas horas
a la miel, al silencio,
a tantos nacimientos y trabajos,
aquel reloj también
cayó y vibraron
entre los vidrios rotos
sus delicadas vísceras azules,
su largo corazón

La vida va moliendo
vidrios, gastando ropas,
haciendo añicos,
y lo que dura con el tiempo es como
isla o nave en el mar,
rodeado por los frágiles peligros,
por implacables aguas y amenazas.

Pongamos todo de una vez, relojes,
platos, copas talladas por el frío,
en un saco y llevemos
al mar nuestros tesoros:
que se derrumben nuestras posesiones
en un solo alarmante quebradero,
que suene como un río
lo que se quiebra
y que el mar reconstruya
con su largo trabajo de mareas
tantas cosas inútiles
que nadie rompe
pero se rompieron.

(English – Ode to Broken Things)

Things get broken
at home
like they were pushed
by an invisible, deliberate smasher.
It's not my hands
or yours
It wasn't the girls
with their hard fingernails
or the motion of the planet.
It wasn't anything or anybody
It wasn't the wind
It wasn't the orange-colored noontime
Or night over the earth
It wasn't even the nose or the elbow
Or the hips getting bigger
or the ankle
or the air.
The plate broke, the lamp fell
All the flower pots tumbled over
one by one. That pot
which overflowed with scarlet
in the middle of October,
it got tired from all the violets
and another empty one
rolled round and round and round
all through winter
until it was only the powder
of a flowerpot,
a broken memory, shining dust.
And that clock
whose sound
the voice of our lives,
the secret
thread of our weeks,
which released
one by one, so many hours
for honey and silence
for so many births and jobs,
that clock also
and its delicate blue guts
among the broken glass
its wide heart

Life goes on grinding up
glass, wearing out clothes
making fragments
breaking down
and what lasts through time
is like an island on a ship in the sea,
surrounded by dangerous fragility
by merciless waters and threats.

Let's put all our treasures together
-- the clocks, plates, cups cracked by the cold --
into a sack and carry them
to the sea
and let our possessions sink
into one alarming breaker
that sounds like a river.
May whatever breaks
be reconstructed by the sea
with the long labor of its tides.
So many useless things
which nobody broke
but which got broken anyway.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

If I Had a Magic Lamp...

If I Had a Magic Lamp

People say, “I wish,” a lot. We never expect that we might ever get the wishes but I think knowing exactly what you would wish for in the event that you suddenly miraculously had a magic lamp is actually a good way to analyse your desires.

Maybe I’m reading too much into this...

But anyway... I was having a conversation with my son about this very thing last night. I limited him to three wishes and he wished for:-

- His Mum

- To go back to the Canary Islands to see his cousins.

- A piano.

I was contemplating my own wishes this morning to and have come up with the following (in order):-

My Son’s Mother

If I could wish for anything I would bring her back and end his heart ache. An obvious choice.

My Mother

She missed so much. She never got to know her grandchildren, never got to see her own children settled. These are things she wanted so, so badly. I think about how much I’ve changed since she left and I think I’ve turned into a man she would have been proud of. I just wish I could get her opinion on that..

Happy Family

I want more than anything for the happiness my family is experiencing at the moment to remain. My cousin (and best friend) is to be married very soon, Chloe and myself will be getting married in May, my sister is getting married in August, my nephew is the happiest little toddler on the planet and my little boy is, in spite of some painful events, smiling and meaning it. I want this to stick.

Happy Friends : )

For the most part, my friends are all very happy now. I want that to continue. I’ve made amends with formers over recent months and with people I’ve had fall outs with over the years. There is now only one former partner I don’t speak to but across the board, without exception, whether I speak to them or not, I want all my formers to be happy. It makes the fact your relationships ended make sense. Like you had fun, you learnt your lessons and then you both moved on to happier things. I love to see my formers happy and settled. I take the lessons I have learnt from previous relationships and they mould me. Two amazing people aren’t necessarily amazing for each other... and some things just are not meant to be.

I have an exception to my “wanting to see everyone happy” rule though. One former friend who got my sister pregnant then f***ed off and decided to have nothing to do with the baby, well that to me is unforgiveable, and while I don’t wish anything bad on him, I certainly don’t think he deserves happy.

Ok, so I chose 4. But I reserve the right to modify the rules!! What about you lot? What do you wish for?

Monday, November 15, 2010


The shards of what was are burning
And I’m learning that yearning
Is a part of moving on.

The cinders fill the room with smoke and
The bits are broken,
But not gone.

And while they’re now in twenty parts
They fit together in my heart
As always I know they will.

Step Parents and Grieving Children

Step parenting, I am sure (though have no personal experience) is potentially very challenging at the best of times. Though I imagine when the step parent is entering a family where the Mother/Father died it’s a whole other obstacle course.

I look at Chloe and the amazing relationship she has with my son and I am just completely overwhelmed by the fact that she doesn’t just accept that my son is a part of me, but she LOVES that. She loves him in a way a Mother would without ever infringing on the memory of his biological Mother.

I heard some criticisms this weekend (not directed at me though certainly felt close to home) about people who “move too soon” when it comes to introducing someone else into grieving children’s lives. I think I know the person those comments were aimed at and I want to take an opportunity in this post to actually contradict the criticisms completely.

I had never been in a relationship with my son’s Mother during his lifetime. We were friends. But irrespective of whether the parents (at the time that one passed) were together or not, it’s the surviving parent who will be the one the child looks to, in most cases, to “make it feel better.” And there’s a tendency, in my experience at least, in the early stages for a child and the surviving parent to become insular. It is expected. So for someone to then come into this insular unit is a big shift. That is something that a step parent or step parent figure has to deal with. And in my opinion, the men and women who are prepared to enter that set up and deal with the inevitable hurdles deserve MEDALS, not criticism.

There’s no such thing as a right or a wrong time to introduce someone new. And if a surviving parent just so happens to fall in love at what other people thing is a “bad time,” then other people should mind their own business. Providing the children’s feelings are respected at all times and the children are given an opportunity, at their own pace, to get to know that person, then I see nothing wrong with it. A parent knows their own child. I knew my son was ready when I introduced Chloe seriously into his life. I knew he was ready when I asked her to move in with me. And she knew he was too.

So when I hear people criticising situations like mine, it actually makes me sick. As reiterate that these criticisms were not directed at me – but regardless, the sit close to home in light of my own personal circumstances and it irritates me that people can think they can pass judgement.

For my son, having Chloe around has been amazing for him. Yes, there are times he still gets upset and misses his Mother. He’s 6 and she has died – it’s expected that it will hurt sometimes. But he actually talks to Chloe about it now as openly as he does to me. And she respects certain boundaries, certain memories and they completely adore one another.

I say it again – people prepared to love grieving children, knowing that they could, at some point, become a target for resent, and to love them unconditionally, respecting all boundaries and memories. Is the most selfless thing in the world.

I imagine most people who criticise such situations have no first hand experience whatsoever....