3 articles Articles posted in Writers’ Workshop

Our Best Friend.

We’d only been married two months when we decided that we needed to start a family. We wanted to open our lives and our hearts up to a little living creature. At the time, we didn’t know that creature would be you. We trawled the newspapers looking for babies, until one day, in the early hours of the morning, your Dad woke me up. He told me he thought he’d found the one and wanted me to come and look at the advert. It said:

“Can you give a home, when no one else will?”

We knew we had to have you. We started making calls, setting the wheels in motion. You weren’t what we’d planned for, but there was something in that advert that told us that you were meant for us. We were warned, he’s spirited, he may have some behavioural problems, if you want to bring him back, you can. But we knew we wouldn’t. We’d made a commitment.

We could see the scars, the places you’d been hurt in the past. We could see the hare lip, the broken tail, the reasons that others had passed you over, in search of something ‘perfect’. But although we could see these physical differences, all we really saw was you. The big eyes that begged for love, the wagging tail that belied your need to please.

You, the day you came to live with us.

The day we came to get you, we knew we’d made the right decision. You came tearing out of your room, dragging the poor carer behind you as you went. You were wearing a bright blue collar, your eyes were alive with excitement and happiness as you came bounding over, and promptly took a leak up your Dad’s leg!

We took you home and decided to take you straight out for a walk. You obviously weren’t used to being on a lead, you dragged your Dad and I along the road. We were worried at this point. What if you were uncontrollable? We decided to give it time, to honour our committment. That night, we were firm, you’d sleep in the spare room, we couldn’t have you in our bedroom. You cried all night. You’ve slept with us ever since.

Fast asleep, despite the camera flash!

When we found out we were having your sister, we had brief concerns. What will he be like with a baby? Will the cries alarm him? We decided, much to other people’s consternation, that when Sausage was born, we would bring her home, lay her on the sofa and let you have a good sniff. We needn’t have worried. You’ve been her protector ever since. Your ears would prick up at the slightest cry, you’ve made it your job to sit near her at nap times. She idolizes you. When she started to get mobile, we could see the wariness in your eyes, choosing to remove yourself when she wobbled her way around the room. Now she’s steady on her feet, you’re always there, following her around, sniffing her butt!

Always ready with a smile!

When Dad started working shifts, you were there, making me feel safe when he was out all night, taking your place on the bed, letting me know if anyone, or anything, got too close to the house. If it weren’t for you, I think I would have been a nervous wreck during those times, but having you there eased my mind, let me drift off, knowing that your ears were always open.

I know I don’t walk you enough. Dad usually takes care of the walkies, which

An early morning family walk to the beach.

is wrong, I know. The changes in you since that first day are amazing, and totally down to your Dad’s perseverance in getting you to walk properly on the lead. But now, I can hold you and push the pushchair at the same time, which is not something I ever thought I would be able to do. You’ve done us proud. You’re my best friend, a constant source of comfort, you deserve the best and I don’t always give it to you, and for that I am sorry.

If there was one thing I would change, it would be that we had got to you sooner. That we had found you when you were a puppy, so there wouldn’t be the long scars on your feet, the cigarette burns all over you. I want to erase all of that from your past. Do you remember how you cowered when I picked up a knife to chop an onion on the day be brought you home? My heart broke at the thought of what had given you that fear.

Modelling his muscle shirt.

I can only hope that these last four and a half years with us has gone a long way to making up for the first two years of your life.

We love you, Chuck. You’re our best friend.

So handsome.


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Scarred.

If there’s two things that Husband and I do a lot of, it’s talking and researching. We talk about everything, I mean really everything. There is no such thing as a taboo subject between us, if it needs to be discussed, we’ll discuss it. That’s not to say that sometimes we don’t get a bit heated, or even end up having a full-blown row, but there’s an understanding between us that no subject is off the table. As for the researching part, I’ll give you an example. About two months before Christmas, Husband and I decided that we wanted to buy an exercise bike and a new media player for our lounge. We ordered them last week. The two and a half months in between were spent discussing which bike/player we should buy and what our best options were, scouring the internet for reviews and deals, finding out which shops we should buy from, before eventually ordering each item. It may not be everyones way, but it works for us.

When we discovered that I was pregnant the opportunities for discussion, analysis and research became boundless. A whole new thing for us to obsess over! One day, I think fairly early on in the pregnancy, Husband and I started a conversation about Caesarian vs. natural birth. Husband was of the opinion that, if we were offered an opportunity to have a c-section, then we should take it. His mother, plus various other females in his family had needed c-sections for one reason or another, and that was fairly common for their family.

I, on the other hand, believed that a vaginal birth was all part of the process of becoming a mother, a rite of passage, and anything less was a cop-out. Obviously, if a c-section was needed for emergency purposes, that’s fine, but there was no way that I was going to scar myself if I didn’t need to. We agreed to disagree, and as it turned out, my Midwife confirmed that elective Caesarians weren’t offered to first-time mothers unless there was a medical reason.

So, my pregnancy went along and I won’t lie, it was miserable. I developed gestational diabetes, SPD, all of the markers for pre-eclampsia, as well as polyhydramnia which meant that, as well as feeling like shit, I was literally double the size that I should have been. I was eventually admitted to hospital to be induced and it all went downhill from there. I won’t go into the details, but I ended up being rushed into theatre for an emergency c-section.

Sausage was not a well baby when she was born and had to spend the first eight days of her life in the NICU. But she fought through with the most incredible strength and is the happy, intelligent, stunning two-year-old who I write about almost daily.

A little while after we brought Sausage home from the hospital, Husband and I decided that we needed to face looking at my labour notes. There was one section which caught our eye, two times, the first was noted as “Time of Incision”, the second was “Time Infant Born”. The times noted down were 21:16 and 21:17. One minute, from cutting me open to bringing my daughter into the world. That one minute was the difference between the child we have now, and a future I don’t even want to think about.

So yes, I am scarred. From hip to hip, and in my heart and soul. But I now know that there’s no such thing as a ‘cop-out’ when it comes to giving birth.

And I could not be more proud of, and grateful for, my scars.

Fist fight.

A few weeks ago, one of my fellow Mummy bloggers recommended Mama Kat’s Losin’ It to me, and I started reading, and throughly enjoying it. I was also intrigued by her weekly Writers Workshop, where she issues a list of prompts to inspire other bloggers. One of this weeks prompts was ‘a fist fight’ and with it I embarked upon my first foray into short fiction. So here is my effort, please be very gentle with me! (I mean really gentle. Posting this is way out of my comfort zone and it’s making me feel a bit nauseous, putting this out there):

As he flexed his hairy knuckles, he knew this would not end well.

His opponent was younger, bigger and had a fire in his belly. Oscar knew that he wouldn’t give up without a fight. As the new boy took the first swing, Oscar braced himself. He twisted out of reach, glad that his reflexes and flexibility still served him, despite his burgeoning years.

New boy advances, determined to take Oscar down a peg or two. Determined to show him that he could take his woman, take his life. Another swing, this time connecting with his jaw, and following it up with a kick to the ribs. The old man crumbles, his determination being no match for the new boys youth and voracious appetite for domination.

Oscar recoils. He knows he’s beat, but he wants to do as much damage as he can on his way down. He sees New Boy drop his guard for just a second and he charges, sinking his teeth into his forearm. New Boy screams in pain, grabbing a handful of Oscars hair and wrenching him and his teeth away. He throws him aside. Oscar’s down, it’s over, he know what’s coming. New boy unleashes hell, fists, teeth, kicks, punches, no one dares drag him away.

When he’s done, finally worn out, he stops, surveys the damage and his new kingdom.

They wouldn’t forget him in a hurry.

There’s a new chief in the Chimpanzee enclosure.

I’d love to know what you think (in a constructive fashion, of course!)