Motherhood the Military Wife Way.

Why does no one talk about the Parallel Universe of new flung parenthood?

Sure there are a zillion million websites and vlogs devoted to telling you platitudes Such as “you’re doing brilliantly” and also the bloody classic “motherhood is so hard but it’s so rewarding”.

Well I am just here to raise a small flag (as a mother of 2 and 3 year old girls) to say to hell it is!!!

As a new Mum all you can think about is four things (mostly 1 &2 to be fair)

  1. sleep. Glorious sexy wanton sleep. SLEEP.
  2. breastfeeding- my boobs! They hurt! Am I doing this right? Are they getting enough and I can’t believe stuff is coming out of them!!!!

3. Am I clean? *sniffs self*. Nope.

4. I really should eat.

5. Sleep. I really want to sleep. I would commit a crime in order to sleep right now.

And that’s basically it.

For the first few week or so as a new Mum the entire world can just do one.

All that matters in the world is you and your little one. And getting the sodding bastarding latch right.

And I think that’s okay.

In fact I think it’s more than ok.

I think it’s a essential component of human kinds survival.

I think it’s an instinct.

I think it’s a way of saying that I NEED to hold my baby right now, thanks mother in law/ helpful now-great-aunt but this is MY JOB.

And yes- I don’t know what the fuck I am doing.

And yes!!! It fucking hurts!

And yes!!! I AM GOING TO KEEP GOING

Because…

It’s my baby and my body and my mind all involved in this gig called motherhood.

My body can tolerate more than my husband or partner will ever know.

I know my mind is strong. I’m the strongest woman Popeye will ever know and I’ve got this.

I look at my baby’s face and realise failure not an option anymore because I made this.

This total and utter perfection. This smallness. This beauty.

This infinite potential.

Let me tell you mothers of small squidgins of loveliness- the haze will lift. And you won’t even know its happening.

An hours more sleep here, a shower alone during nap time there, slowly the streams of babbling get clearer, they reach out a small hand into the wide world and grasp precisely what they were aiming for.

And suddenly they are there- demanding food in receptacles that YOU TAUGHT HER TO SAY. And she can sing all the songs from Frozen.

Now suddenly she can get dressed, tell me the plot to moana and insist she has pigtails today.

And I know. I’ve done it.

I’m a mother.

The fog. It’s gone. Her clarity brings my role sharply into focus like it wasn’t when she was my infant baby.

How did this happen?! From those first crazy days of learning how to latch, how baby wipes are an essential component of civilised society and wtf a jumperoo was- I really don’t know. But I did it man.

I never ever knew what I was doing.

I was alone and scared a lot of the time. During deployments with a newborn to a six month old, and another 9 month deployment with a 2 year old and a six month old. Woah.

I did that. We did that.

I don’t know how it happened. From the moment I found out I was pregnant it’s been like a runaway train. There was excitement. Then tiredness. And goodbyes. And homecomings. Then more goodbyes then (more) tiredness. And another homecoming.

I see them grow and bloom. And now I’m back at excitement again.

What will they do next?

I pause for a moment.

And away my babies fly.

Muchos love, Olive x

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What the Navy means to me.

<<<<GUEST BLOG POST>>>>

What the Navy means to me?

The Navy is endless dreams, limitless opportunity, ‘a life without limits.’

…from whose perspective?

The navy is weekending, spending week days apart and weekends at home.

The navy is rubbish signal, unanswered text messages, ‘one tick’ WhatsApp’s, and satellite calls- calls on a timer, non private calls, no calls as he’s at sea, drunken inebriated calls after a run ashore, quick calls as he is exhausted from fire exercises and desperately needs sleep.

The Navy is missed dates, missed appointments, missed opportunities, missed anniversaries, missed birthdays, giving birth alone.

Cancelled weddings, rearranged weddings, then ‘back to the original date’ weddings, to be ‘ship’s programme has changed again but nothing is set in stone so who knows? Weddings’.

The Navy extracts the usual impending excitement towards approaching milestones and events, replacing it with anxiety and worry; missed excitement because deep down you know that until he is in front of you and it is happening at that moment, things change and it may never come to fruition.

The Navy is deployments, the emotional cycle of deployment, emotionally distancing yourselves from the relationship as a form of self preservation, attempting to live a normal life when a ‘normal’ life is blatantly incompatible with retaining the serving person’s deployability and operational capability.

The Navy is the psychotic ex girlfriend who has the power over your every move, who can and will swoop in at any given moment to rain on your parade, exert her authority and remind you that no matter what SHE comes first and she always will, ‘suck it up buttercup and pull up your big girl pants!’

The Navy is arguments about whose fault it is, about resentment, loneliness and a longing for a sense of permanency.

The Navy makes you question what is important to you in life? What defines whether a person is successful, what your purpose is in life, are you doing the right thing? Are you, as the wife / partner selfish for holding them back by expecting their devotion to you and the family? Are you, the serving person selfish for expecting your partner to stay at home, suck it up, smile and get on with it, be the one who is left behind alone at last minute, be the one to pick up the pieces and cope with whatever life throws at you, alone… or is the Navy actually asking the impossible?

The Navy is ‘you knew what you were getting into?’ REALLY? How can you know until you live it? The answer is you can’t and you don’t!

The Navy is separate lives, living and breathing the ship, down time, work time, duties,

Living your life to the Navy’s ideology.

The Navy is awkward questions and discussions,

Strange activities that are somehow only within the military’s realm of normality and acceptance,

A shared sense of understanding as, for want of a better term ‘you’re all in the same boat.’

The Navy pushes you to your limit, your family to their limit, your friends to theirs-

It causes arguments, rifts, sleepless nights, anxiety, depression and uncertainty.

The Navy forces you to sink or swim.

In a couple or alone.

Faced with choices that either make you solidify your relationship and hatch a plan,

Or force cracks at the seams and force you apart.

The Navy has many positives as an employer but it is primarily the Navy and it ‘protects our nation’s interests’ but at what cost

Who pays the price?

Super Positive Coping Mummy

Obvious statement alert: Deployment with children is very different to deployment when it’s just you to think about.

I mean, there’s the stuff  you kind of know you’re going to have to do; like explaining where mummy/daddy is, doing countdowns with sweets and sticker charts et al but what about the other stuff?

The stuff pre-children-navy-wife-olive had no idea about whatsoever.

Before starting a family I could (and did) wear pjs for a whole weekend, eat my weight in ice cream and have mad nights out with friends to numb the pain. I could cry at leisure and put on destinys child full blast whilst painting my toenails at 11pm at night because it made me feel better.

Now I have to be Super Positive Coping Mummy. SPC Mummy puts on a brave front, answers any and all heartbreaking “where’s daddy?” Type questions with a smile and a biscuit. SPC Mummy doesn’t drink (much) lovely lovely wine the night daddy goes because no matter what SPC Mummy is available 24/7 to attended to all and any small people needs. Including needing jam on toast at 5 freaking AM. SPC Mummy doesn’t get to watch soppy films all morning huddled under the duvet with chocolate, SPC Mummy is carrying on with going to the park, walking the dog and remembering to take carrier bags with her to Lidl.

Pre children when Popeye rang I was able to (literally) drop everything, hurdle the dog and drop roll over the coffee table to get to the phone.

Post children- I have missed the phone ringing due to bathtimes, being stuck under a sleeping newborn who has finally gone to sleep with the phone just out of reach, not to mention the ringtone obliterator that is sodding tots n tunes. Ten or so toddlers “singing” wind the bloody bobbin up is unsurprisingly incompatible with hearing Popeyes personalised “captain Pugwash” ringtone.

And if by some strange fluke of chance you actually get to answer the phone you now have to share those precious few minutes with a small person covered in jam that just wants to talk about Peppa Pig/ an interesting stone they found/ how mummy won’t give her another chocolate egg (side note: my daughter is still devastated Easter is over. Several months later she still blames me).

I never even considered having to explain to my toddler that every single boat does not have daddy on it. I never thought for a second that I would have to compare our family unit to that of Danny Dog from (of course) that Pig cartoon. Because Danny’s daddy goes away then comes back and decides to never leave again. So thank you for that conversation Peppa. Because my daughters daddy isn’t coming home for a long long time and then will have to go away again. And again. Unlike Mr Dog.

During bedtimes (when no one will just go the heck to sleep) I’ve daydreamed about a cartoon where there is an actual military family portrayed, showing our strength and resilience. Demonstrating the sacrifices we make in every day situations and it’s no biggie. How we switch from being a parenting team to the practical equivalent of single parents in the blink of an eye.

SPC Mummy probably should have her own TV show. Or at least a cape.

If it were a cartoon the most important thing it could  give my daughters is an example of how our military family is a normal family.

Even if they do have jam smeared on their faces and stones in their pockets, this is their normal and now a deployment with children has become my normal too.

SPC Mummy- away!!!!

*swirls around in her cape and flies off to solve another deployment related toddler question*

Deployment dreams

Ok *oversharing alert* family and friends click away now.

Popeye has just reminded me of something that has happened every deployment and I’m wondering if it happens to you too.

Thing is, it’s a tad embarrassing.

A smidge, a pinch, a wee bit cringe inducing.

Soooo….

When your partner deploys, companionship and wholesome friendship issues aside, it leaves a big gap in your sex life. There’s a *ahem* how do I put it- a romantic need that he just *ahem* can’t fulfill because he is several thousand miles away.

We all have our own “coping mechanisms” and this post is not about that. It’s about something else that happens after a “dry spell” spanning several months.

Every time Popeye has been on deployment I have had (occasional) rude dreams.

(This, so far, is pretty normal right? Stay with me. It gets weird)

Every time Popeye has been on deployment I have had rude dreams that are not starring Popeye.

(Ok ok we’re all grown ups here, we can admit that dreaming about someone other than your partner does happen and although totes cringey and not something you mention down the phone- not exactly something entering into the realms of bizarre.)

Here it is- 

Every time Popeye has deployed I have had rude dreams about low status TV personalities. 

Not even proper slebs! These fantasy dreams have starred such well known hotties as 

  • Alan Titchmarsh


    And

    • Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall 



    Each time I’ve woken up totally and utterly freaked out and emailed Popeye in a state of utter squeamishness. 


    I don’t know why my subconscious seeks out middle aged gardeners and organic chefs as prime X rated dream stars.

    But it does. And it scares me. I don’t get my brain. When I’m awake, they do nothing for me. Sorry Al and Hugh, no offence but you’re just not my type(s). 

    Tell me I’m not the only one?

    Seriously, you guys have had freaky weird sex dreams too, right guys? Right?!

    Muchos love

    Olive x 

    Well Meaning People- Part 2

    I want to set the record straight once and for all about something that gets said to military wives frequently around homecoming time. It is usually said by our old pals Well Meaning people but can also be chucked around by randoms you meet out and about, who have all the quiet tact and discretion of HMS Queen Liz coming into Portsmouth.

    Heres the basic script:

    Military spouse: “OMGOMGOMG I CANNOT WAIT UNTIL POPEYE IS HOOOOOME!”

    Well meaning twat person: “Aww thats cute. Give it a few days and you’ll wish they were away again. Lolz”.

    Related image
    Excuse me? Wtf did you just say to me?

    Oh how we all laughed! These well meaning people, how spot on they are. How well they know what we go through. Its uncanny. Unsettling even.

    (Heavy sarcasm alert.)

    Why on gods green earth would we want them to bugger off again?

    Image result for 1950s woman pissed off
    “Im just going to file that comment under “B” for Bullshit.”

    This is what I want to say to these well meaning people (because you cant really say it to their faces, unless you’re a total cow/self confident superstar.)

    Statement of truth, from Olive, to all you Well Meaning People:

    “When the loves of our lives return to us from the sea, or the land, or the sky, from war torn countries, landscapes filled with unimaginable horrors, dangers and poor wifi, we are elated. 

    They are home safe. We can speak to them again, we can touch them again, we can smell them again (not in a creep way).

    After the initial dazzling, hazy period after homecoming fades, when all the friends and relatives have been visited, the family holiday completed, the special homecoming food and booze consumed; the return to real life commences.

    Its not glamorous, its not perfect, its not chocolates and flowers.

    Its remembering their annoying habits (leaving his toothbrush on the side of the sink), their idiosyncrasies (like letting rip with the hugest fart every morning when they wake), and their faults (cannot load the dishwasher correctly).

    Its them getting used to being at home with us again too. Its very much a two way street. We change when they’re away too. 

    We are stronger, we are more confident, we can top up the oil in the car, get two kids up and out by 8am and we can manage the family finances alone.

    It takes time to find the balance.

    Healthy, normal couples find the balance by communicating. Synonyms for this include bickering, nagging, sarcastically reminding, huffing and stropping and of course, the old classic, moaning.

    And here we come to the core of the issue-

    None of this means we want them to leave again!

    Yes they can do our heads in, and I’m sure I annoy the hell out of Popeye at times (infact I know I do, because he tells me).

    But understand, dearest Well Meaning Person, that this in NO way equates to us wanting them to leave, to having to go through a deployment again.

    What it does mean is that we, as a normal couple, are finding our way back to everyday life together, again.

    So please, when you think of your “hilarious” commentary on my relationship, kindly STFU.

    Yours in frankness,

    Olive Oyl,

    Muchos Love xxxx”

    Image result for 1950s woman husband deploying
    “I could SO go for another 9 monther right now” said no Military Spouse ever.

     

     

    Mumming & Military Wife-ing 

    I was so worried Popeye wouldn’t bond with our eldest, Sweetpea. He was deployed for 7 months and I was terrified he would miss the birth. 

    Which of course he did, by about 35 minutes.

    Glowing my ass off here. Back in the days of sleep.
    At the time it was my worst fear come true. But after a few hours in labour I really couldn’t give a flying fuck if he was there or not as I realised only I could do this. Not him. Me. Even with my amazing sister there as support, there was only one fandango available for the 8lb 3oz of blessing to shoot through.

    So Sweetpea arrived safely at home, as planned. Phew. 

    Popeye turned up half an hour later which gave me just enough time to arrange myself like My Lady Mother complete with non medusa hair and clothes on. 

    Look what I made! Madness.
    I was petrified he wouldn’t bond with her. 

    He was only home for four weeks and after that gone for another 5.5 months. 

    I spent those four weeks willing them to bond, to have a magical father daughter connection etc etc. This is very tricky when exclusively breastfeeding a baby with a tongue tie and jaundice who spends 23 hours a day on you.

    Not that much “quality time” could happen.

    Turns out this is normal for new babies. Babies need to be on their mum. Next to them, being held, being fed, puking all over, shitting all over, sleeping on their mum. Then feeding some more for good measure.
    So Popeye left me with this four week old feeding pooping machine and flew back to his ship in the Middle East. 

    It was around this time I wrote this wildly optimistic blog post Olive Oyl Super Mum.

    Time passed, homecoming happened! We were reunited as a family at last. 

    And it was fine.

    Popeye and Sweetpea bonded brilliantly. They had an immediate connection and she’s now a real daddies girl. Breastfeeding her had no negative impact on their bond, it just meant I was stuck doing bedtimes for a bit. 

    And they are still so close. Even when Popeye deployed again for 9 months this time, when she was two. They really are thick as thieves and I wouldn’t want it any other way.


    All my worrying was for nothing to be honest. Him being deployed did not negatively effect his relationship with his baby. 

    It took him some time to get to grips with the practicalities. Like how to put babygros on them. And to always have a pocket of wipes within arms reach.

    And the somber knowledge that we will never feel rested again was hard for him to get his head round but all in all I have never been so glad to be proved wrong!

    Plus he owed me so many nappy changes when he came home. Kinda made it worth it in itself 😉.

    When I was pregnant again with Sproglet I wasn’t so worried. 

    This was because I knew

    1. Only I can give birth, so whether Popeye is there or not is kind of irrelevant when you get down to the nitty gritty.
    2. They will bond, whether that’s now or in a few months.
    3. It’s not the job that stops some men being the best dad they can be.
    4. It’s not the quantity of time you spend with your baby it’s the quality.
    5. Look on the bright side, he will have to make up for it with nappy changes and giving you naps for all the night wakings. SCORE!

    In short it’s the man not the military that influence if they will be a good dad or not. 


    So don’t worry mamas to be. You’ve got this.

    Muchos love,

    Olive x 

    You really don’t have to be a cool military wife

    You really don’t.

    There’s no rule saying you have to suck it up and smile sweetly when they tell you they are missing your anniversary.

    You can be annoyed, and rightly so,  you can be hurt, you can be miffed and vexed and whatever-the-hell-you-need-to-feel when they “forget” to tell you they are duty weekend until 4pm on a Friday. 

    Sometimes we military wives need a little reality check.


    It is fine to be pissed off when your partner cancels plans. Even if the reason for this cancelled plans is some MOD top priority mission. It’s fine.

    It’s normal to be slightly vexed at having to switch Friday night plans from romantic dinner then bars then casino to dominoes and a bottle of red for one in your pjs at 45 minutes notice.

    It’s understandable to not be cheerful and jolly ho and well wishing, when calling up the travel agent and praying with crossed fingers, that you can rebook the holiday you’ve saved a whole year for.

    It is healthy to feel the rage at these times. It would be bizarre if you didn’t. And if it didn’t you might start doing weird passive aggressive things like deliberately putting gone off milk in his tea before he leaves, or “accidentally”‘deleting all the game of thrones on the sky planner. Or you might take it out on the BBKB  (Big Black Kit Bag) in a barely contained fit of rage.

    Although it might make you feel better in the short term it won’t for long.

    So please please ladies, don’t try to hold it together. When you feel pissed off, be pissed off

    Get vocal, get sweary, hang up on them if you need to. Cry if you need to.

    Just don’t for Petes sake, bottle it all up. 

    Because at the end of the day, whether you lose the plot and let him have it both barrels, or you suppress it with your best stepford wife smile, the shits still going to hit you just the same. 

    At least this way you will deal with it in a way that it healthy for you. Because sadly the shits going to hit that military  relationship fan again and again. And yes as time goes on you will get used to it in a way- but that doesn’t mean the shit doesn’t still stink. 

    Shout it loud and shout it proud ladies- but only if you want to.

    Muchos love,

    Olive x 

    Farting when they’re home

    When your partner is away you can independently let loose with (ahem) flatuence – whenever you need to.


    For civvy couples this kind of thing doesn’t happen to them.

    They must have a well worked out routine of either: 

    1. Storing up farts until one of the couple falls asleep-then letting loose.
    2. All out, no hold barred, ass emissions as and when necessary.

    I don’t really see any middle ground here for them civvies.

    However- In the Oyl household, or maybe just in military households: 

    Farting is definitely option 2 when Popeye is deployed, and then I try my very best for option 1 when he is home ( at least for the first two weeks of leave).

    With the Oyl Household system, there is, an unfortunate overlap come homecoming time.

    This time, when he has just come home. That magical time when he’s still unpacking, you are trying not to yell at the children and also trying not to guzzle the wine at the rate you normally do.

    When you are trying to be sexy and cool and up-together.

    When you are a trying to be a Kirsty Allsop- esque mum. And failing.

    And then. There’s a rumbling.

    The old pelvic floor gives a creak and-

    You guff.

    Its not even a quiet one. Not even one you can blame on the kids or the dog.

    It’s bad.

    In both the olfactory sense and the relationship sense. It’s bad.

    And then you look at him and see his momentary disgust. Then humour. And ultimately his respect.

    Because yes I fart. And yes he loves me.

    Not in spite. 

    But because.


    Because he loves me and because (shock horror) humans pass gas. This is what our bodies do when we are healthy and fucking comfortable. 

    It is embarrassing for that micro second before he laughs and before I remember he has encountered much worse on deployment. 

    (P.s screw you Kirsty “let’s-all-casually-weave-a-basket/go-glass-blowing”- Allsop).

    Muchos love ❤️ 

    The meaty middle

    The meaty bit of the deployment. The middle bit, the big chunk where you’re a few months in and you’ve got a few months to go.

    That’s where I’ve been. 

    I’ve been keeping my head down, coping.

    Get up, get washed, get dressed and keep busy. Drink wine and eat quavers. Repeat.

    Let me make this clear to my civvy readers-time has not gone quickly. But it has gone. 

    I’m utterly bamboozled by this fact. I don’t entirely understand how I have done this middle bit. At the beginning 9 months was utterly paralysingly terrifying. Still is to be honest. 

    But now it’s utterly paralysingly terrifying with a twist of bewilderment and a silent air punch of pride. 

    IVE ALMOST BLOODY DONE IT LADIES AND GENTS!


    I’ve kept the kids alive and not had a total breakdown!

    I’m chalking it up as a big fat WIN.

    As the reality that I’ve almost done it hits its actually a bit unsettling. I keep stopping and asking myself how did I get here?

     How have I done this?

    Has he really been gone for 7 months?!?!

    Is he actually coming back?!

    On one hand it feels like he’s been gone an eternity, on the other it feels like maybe a few weeks, a couple of months. 

    And as this self awareness dawns on me it hits me. The absolute totally all consuming longing to have him home.

    Justcomehomejustcomehomejustcomehome

    So near and yet so far from the finish line. 

    This ladies (and gents) is the final push. That last bit of energy and positivity that you have to dredge up from somewhere in your gut to keep going right up to the end.

    I was happily plodding along with the meaty middle bit of the deployment and suddenly the realisation that he will be home soon(ish) hit me.

    I kind of wish it hadn’t to be honest. A few more weeks  in my “meaty middle bit” bubble would’ve been most welcome. 

    It’s time for that final sprint! And I’m ready.

    Doing things and seeing people- aka mid deployment leave

    I’m into the second half of our glorious and magnificent 9 month deployment (sarcasm alert). 

    So far these phrases have become my vocal soundtrack: Yes I’m at the halfway mark, isn’t that great. Yes I’m sure this half will fly by. Yes it does seem so much more doable since having him home. Yes it was fantastic to have him home, utter perfection, top notch. He is afterall my hero.

    (Please note the continuing theme of heavy sarcasm above).

    The truth is,  having to say goodbye again after  what felt like approximately 3.25 minutes on one hand /all of eternity on the other was not wonderful or magical.

    In fact it was one of the hardest goodbyes we’ve had. Or that I’ve had, I don’t know about him as I’ve not really heard from him apart from being told he’s alive and on the ship. At least it supports my working theory that goodbyes don’t actually get any easier. 

    It’s supposed to be two weeks of leave, except it’s actually not. It’s 12 days of leave, with flights here and back out at ridiculous o’clock so it’s more like 10 actual days face to face with your sailor and the rest is him flying across the hemispheres. 

    Basically time maths came round and bit me on the ass! Time is not the navy wife’s friend. At least it’s not 50% of the time.

    The pressure to do things and see people was insane. For 10 days I basically tried to present this Bree Vandekamp version of myself. This lasted approximately 20 minutes after he got back when Sweetpea had a meltdown and I announced I was getting myself a gin. 

    Love a bit of Bree

    The doing things part wasn’t so bad, we went to the zoo, we went shopping, Sproglet had her first birthday party (I know I can’t believe it either), and Popeye  fought his way valiantly to the bottom of the wash basket, (I had thought the exsistence of a bottom to the washing basket was just a myth or urban legend, turns out it’s a real thing! Just one I have never seen before or since). 

    So much wholesome family fun at the zoo. There was a huge tantrum and Sweetpea wet herself 5 mins after this was taken.

    And whilst we were doing things he realised, through the behaviour of our darling one and two year olds, that life at home is actually insane 80% of the time. 

    He realised why I don’t email as much, or in as much detail as I used to.

     He realised why our house always has a surface level mess of toys/crumbs/opened wipe packets despite me tidying for a few hours.

     He realised that cooking dinner is not a relaxing Annabel Karmel filled bonding experience, but rather an experience akin to Jason Bourne trying to evade the CIA whilst cooking beige food with the token floor offering of veg. 

    He realised that trying to reason with a toddler, and saying things like “calm down Sweetpea and listen to daddy” whilst she’s mid tantrum is like hitting your head on the floor. Which is ironically usually what the toddler is doing. He also realised I was right in that all you can do is walk away and ignore. *smug face*

    He realised all this about our home life in just a ten day crash course in reality and was genuinely scared for me, and amazed that I manage to get them myself and both the girls up and dressed by 8am three days a week.
    I was a tad smug. He was in awe of me. 

    This family is not real and does not exist.

    And as for the seeing people- I took on board Peppers advice in her guest blog post and we took all the family visits in big hits, we saw all the family for Sproglets birthday and then saw the outlaws again another day for what was supposed to be a lovely day swimming with Popeyes nephew and our monsters but actually turned into a trip to A&E courtesy of NHS 111 advice for Sproglet (she had a rash but it was just from a virus- just a normal day in the life of parenthood 😑). 

    I’m so glad we took that advice and had people come to us/ went to see them in batches- to everyone else considering plans for homecoming leave or mid deployment leave- do this !!!!

    We did all the things we were supposed to do, we had a wonderful alcohol fuelled date night, we had an blazing argument about pickle. We took zillions of photos. We laughed and I cried (he’s like a stone man or something and hardly ever cries) we did rock and roll things like rewatching Downton Abbey on box set and cuddled on the sofa. God damn it we did everything. In 10 manic days we compressed 4 months of relationship stuff. 

    It was exhausting. It was exhilarating. 

    Then it was over. 

    In the blink of an eye he was gone one night after bedtime was done. His shoes were still by the back door, his coffee cup on the side (Take That reference alert minus the lipstick marks), his toothbrush still left by the sink despite my nagging him to put it away for 10 days.

    Now it’s back to work for me, and back to work for him. 

    We saw, we did, we said goodbye (again). 

    And I’m so glad he came home and we got that time together, even if every time I see the pickle now I have to stifle a sob.