I am not quite sure what the word for the feeling I have is right now. In the moment that you drop your kids off at camps on a Monday morning in the summer holidays.
There is the underlying twang of guilt for leaving them, mixed with relief at having some time to yourself and the opportunity to either crack on with sorting out the bomb site that is the kitchen and snug, empty the over flowing laundry baskets and put a load on while you get some work done without being disturbed, all sprinkled with excitement for some peace and quiet, just to sit in the sun and breathe for 10 minutes before cracking on.
It’s 10am, and it is baking hot in our courtyard garden. The dog is lying on the cool Yorkshire flagstones or rolling in the grass. And I am taking my 10.
And in my 10, I did a quick 5 minute screen scroll of Facebook. I allow myself 5 minutes twice a day – it can be addictive but I get pleasure from seeing everyone’s happy faces and stories and plus, it is a place for central communication for my team and the groups I belong to. So 5 minutes to smile and sift; sift to find the important messages.
The important message that popped up at me today was that time passes; that so much can happen in a year, or even a decade.
FB reminded me that on the 15th August last year, the Big Man left us to start a new job living in London. We all focussed on the positives, the nice shiny car, the big pay cheques, weeks to focus on our work, weekends to focus on family. The reality was totally different and we learnt from the experience, that we are a family who needs to live together.
On the same day, to distract ourselves from the departure, the boys and I went for a gorgeous walk to help my friend entice her baby out. A year later, my beautiful goddaughter is about to turn one!
A far cry from 10 years ago when I lay on a hospital bed waiting to see my first baby at 13 weeks, excited with anticipation to see it for the second time waving and kicking at us on the ultrasound…. Only to see it curled up, immobile and no heartbeat. A devastating blow and reminder of nature and the body’s power. A memory and a moment, I thought I would never recover from. The memory is still there, and I can dredge up the pain of how I felt, if I wish, as I sobbed in to the Big Man’s chest as they left us alone.
But that sad mental image has faded over time and been replaced with so many happy moments and days… as Facebook so readily reminds me.
I laugh now at the memory of me on 15th August 2009 watching a 1 year old Tom Tom through a window to the outside as he threw toys on top of a swimming pool cover. I could see his brain trying to work out how he was going to get them back… but while Daddy was on ‘watch’ duty, he wasn’t watching. I laugh even more at an enormous 40 week pregnant me waddling and barging through the party crowd to try and get to Tom…. Only to come outside to see another Daddy fishing him out of the pool already. Funny now, only because we learnt a serious lesson that day too.
Facebook also reminds me that on 15th August 2010 we were recovering from a fantastic wedding and that we were woken up by 1 and 2 year old angel faces at 6am in the morning… the only thing to make you smile after a night of cocktails and dancing.
In 2013, there are photos of our growing boys, happy and playing as we spend 15th August in Harewood House eating ice creams and watching the penguins and I note that I have started my journey of gratitude ‘Feeling incredulous and grateful every day that we have these gorgeous handsome boys in our lives!”
And only 2 years ago, we had just arrived in Paradise as we had treated ourselves to a family holiday of a life time to Mauritius. Photos of our sun loungers, perfectly placed to watch our energetic boys splash in the clear waters of the sea. A holiday the boys recount stories from to this day and photos we have all over the kitchen to remind us of how lucky we are and how much we want to go back!
So as I make new memories for the 15th August today, I wonder, if I could show my Facebook reel for 15th August to me back in 2006, would it have eased the excruciating pain of the time, knowing everything was going to work out for the best? And work out far better than I ever had dreamed?
And what would she say to me? Maybe there in lies the element of guilt I feel today. In the depths of pain and loss, maybe she wouldn’t understand why my children aren’t with me, attached to my hips? In all honesty, I don’t think anything I could have said or shown myself / her back then would have made any difference. My emotions too high, my dreams shattered, my mind closed with grief and disbelief.
Today, as I sit in the sun, with a totally open mind, a big dream and a big vision for the next decade, I wonder what my 50 year old self would say to me today? What would my FB reel show?
One thing I do know, my desire for a family, for love, laughter and happiness as a family, my determination for it to happen made it happen. Through the choices I made, through the practice of gratitude and visualisation that my bereavement counsellor taught me all those years ago, my positive attitude and unwavering belief that it would happen, no matter what, no matter when or how, but my stoic belief just that it would.
If that’s the case, my 50 year old self would come back and tell me exactly what I know is going to happen. No matter what.
And that whole thought process this morning was summed up by the opening chapter of my new book (Tony Robbins – Awaken the Giant Within)… “You have to stay committed to your decision… ” and “know that it’s your decision, and not your conditions, that determine your destiny”. Whatever happens in life, bumps along the way, keep the goal in mind, reset, refocus and keep going until it happens.