Letter to my Teenage Girl as Dad moves abroad

  

Teen Girl you have had a tough year, your favourite teacher who believed in you, motivated and inspired you died very suddenly. You didn’t get into the school that you dreamed would help you pursue your talent and vocation and now your Dad has remarried and is moving abroad.

You were only little when we divorced, I have often wondered  how much you remember,  I know that you have sometimes blamed yourself  for the divorce and some of the difficulties we have experienced since then  I want you to know that none of this is your fault and that we both love and are very proud of you.

I sometimes think the true cost of our divorce is only becoming apparent now as you move from being a tween to being a fully-fledged teenager about to start your GCSE’s.

  
Your sadness is palpable, you have lost confidence, some of your infectious joy, fearlessness and ability to engage with everything and everybody with a smile. You have however maintained your ability to see the best in everyone including inexplicably Katie Hopkins!

You worry about your weight and your looks. You are developing your own sense of style and opinions about the world. You are tentatively discovering boys.  There have been tantrums and tears, we have hurt each other with thoughtlessness and cruel words.  I feel that you direct some of your anger at me because I am here, I try to understand what you are going through (I do remember what it was like) although it is difficult to deal with sometimes.

Your pain about your dad leaving makes me sad, I sense your bewilderment, it echoes the sadness I feel about the relationship with my own father who also lives abroad now. A distant tense relationship with so much anger and hurt remaining unsaid. I don’t want that for you.

I worry who will be your  safe male role model, who you will be attracted to, what sort of relationships will be your normal? I hope your experiences do not mirror mine, I hope that I can support you to spare you that.

I will help you maintain your relationship with your father (you are the teen queen of social media and technology) and I hear you when say that’s not the same and not enough. I will be here for you when you are finding it hard. It won’t be the same as it was when he lived a mile away it will just be different

You have seen so much in your short life, illness, death of family member’s, difficult friendships, rejection, turbulent relationships and divorce.  I know ultimately these experiences will shape you and make you stronger. I know its difficult now though and far from the idyllic teen life we see on the TV.

You are smart funny talented and braver than you realise, you have always been a delight to be with. I want you to know that although you have had a lot of loss and disappointment this year and your world is changing fast there is always light at the end of the tunnel.  Hold onto to your dreams, I know that you will be a success in whatever you chose to do because you are amazing and my favourite girl in the world

Love your Single Mum Dawn

Bonding with Teen Girl – Professional Photos or Holiday?

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We have have all been tempted by inexpensive sounding  professional photos sessions and for  £60  and free photo, what’s not to like? Well after spending a eye watering amount of money getting some lovely photos plenty let me tell you!
It was the day of the tube strike I went home a different way through Liverpool Street station because it was more direct with less chance of being caught out. I was hot tired and hungry never be hot tired and hungry when negotiating about money it will cost you a fortune, trust me.
I thought I would get a sandwich and was looking around for a shop to buy one, that was my first mistake  (don’t look around) second mistake was engaging with the young man who caught my eye ( don’t stop ever).  I am usually so good at dodging people with something to sell chuggers, Jehovah witnesses, anyone with a leaflet  I am highly skilled at  polite avoidance, hard wired by years of  avoiding eye contact while commuting in London.
Not on this day though ( I told you hungry hot and tired)  before you know it I have succumbed to flattery  ( third mistake) paid my money and booked a session.
I tell myself it will be a good bonding session with teen girl ,it will be good  for her confidence, I will set a limit I will be strong!!!
You can guess what happened next can’t you.
The day came  and I really wasn’t in the mood. I had promised myself I would be organised  that I would prepare the night before  but I didn’t and I spent the morning flinging clothes round the bedroom and ironing.T hey said we needed four outfits. I struggle finding one outfit ( I have an aversion to ironing) never mind four, plus Teen girl needed four as well, so cue  generational differences in taste and judgement to be  exposed and found wanting.
I got Teen girl  up two hours before we were due to leave, she  nonchalantly got ready at a leisurely pace like she had all the time in the world  which was infuriating. How long does it take to have  a shower and wash your hair for goodness sake. Too long in my view, so much for a cosy mum and daughter bonding session , time was tight and I was already fuming!
So after a tense start, we finally  got there just in time with me making  a mental note to self  to remember whenever I have to be somewhere with Teen Girl, add at least an hour  to save time and frustration.
The studio was lovely cool light and airy funky music  playing and beautiful people walking around looking impossibly cool. It looked expensive.  I am trying to set up a business as a freelance journalist and blogger,  so I am always thinking about costs and I  knew that this set up couldn’t be cheap.
We had our hair and make up done. Teen girl looked gorgeous with very little effort.  I needed a bit more work.   I had had some similar photos done 10 years ago and I couldn’t help thinking how much I’d aged.  I  have started. thinking that more and more recently it must be my mid life ex wife crisis.
The photographer was brilliant he made us laugh he didn’t judge our clothes , flattered our vanity and made us look and feel good.  It was professional as advertised. we had a fabulous time it was all I thought it would be  a confidence building  bonding experience mummy and daughter playing dress up.
The photos were amazing,  I wanted all of them but the cost was prohibitive, think a week abroad for a family of four or a really good second hand car.
We went from 90 photo to the 29 I couldn’t leave behind, I also had a fascinating conversation with the sales man  Aaron  about Apple Watches, the photography business, acting and music careers, plus marriage divorce and how ( and If)  it impacts on your life as a child ( we were all products of broken homes)
Thought provoking and unexpected
Needless to say I still can’t tell you how much I  paid  but let’s  just say I wont be going  for a mini break abroad ( which I could do with actually) and my credit card took  a hit!
Before anyone asks I did offer Teen Boy the chance to have his photo taken ( he was having none of it ) he liked the pictures though ( I didn’t dare  tell him  how much they cost!)
All in all it was a really positive experience me and Teen Girl spent the day together and got some cracking photos that we can use for business and personal purposes ( head shots websites  Christmas present etc.)
As for Teen Girl she now knows that  life is about choices  head shots or holiday?  I made her choose, cruel yes but  I have  to get those life lessons in there somewhere.
Would I do it again? Maybe… Teen Girl  and I have had a tough few months and it was great to share  a lovely day that we will never forget, we made some  good memories and laughed a lot which is all  ever want to do with kids.
I have to say though  the next time a handsome young man approaches offering  me professional photo session for £60. I will smile politely say no thank you  hold onto my purse and keep moving.
Till the next time D xx
Have you ever done one of this  photo sessions? Did you pay more than expected or did you stay strong?
I would love to hear about it (it will make me feel better)

New Life, New Wife – My ex got remarried. Am I bothered no..? Did it rock me…? Yes!

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My Ex husband got remarried a couple of weeks ago

Was I bothered no… did it rock me yes

I got divorced 8 years ago after a difficult marriage which probably should have ended a long time before it did

My ex was hurt so it wasn’t amicable and he moved about a mile away from our house and maintained his relationship with the kids up, they stayed with him every other weekend and on Tuesdays. This continued until he met the lady who know is his wife and deteriorated further when they had a child together.

There has been lots of “renegotiating” of the boundaries and expectations of blended families so to say I had mixed feelings when I heard about their impending wedding and planned move to the Middle East is a bit of an understatement.

It was weird making sure they had smart clothes to wear so that they didn’t shame me, teen boy went with his girlfriend and teen girl invited a friend from school. They looked lovely and I took lots of photo’s (weird), the allotted hour came and kids being the lazy things they are asked me for a lift.

It was a beautiful sunny day, I couldn’t help but think of my own wedding day it had been muggy and hot, and there had been a thunderstorms the night before, maybe that was a sign.

We arrived, the first person I saw was my brother in law, he had been the best man at our wedding, he seemed pleased to see me and so did his wife, it was great to see them despite the bizarre circumstances.

I saw my ex…. he wasn’t pleased to see me… I don’t suppose I can blame him. I think the bride was due any second.  So I made my excuses and quickly left with a lump in my throat mixed thoughts running through my head. One of them being why wasn’t I the one getting remarried. I had always intended to get married again and have another baby,things didn’t work out that way.. was it too late?

What did I do with myself, I went on a shopping spree and I ate doughnuts.   I spent the day with a friend who made lots of tea, fed me and let me binge watch loads of television. It’s what I needed.

Apparently the day was a huge success, I was desperate to hear all the details, who came,what did they look like, had they been guests at my wedding? The photos were great. Teen boy made a speech that made everyone cry,the photos were great and a good time was had by all.

Me, I was shocked by the feelings that my ex’s wedding invoked in me, the regret sadness the emotions of loss and bereavement.

I was determined not to cry- and didn’t for 3 days  but when it came it was heartbreaking  and desolate.

I am writing this not as a woe is me piece but as a reflection that in spite of the passage of time and new partners coming and going (in my case), It is always a shock when your ex-spouse moves on to a new life with a new wife.  It leaves you wondering where you are in your life, considering why your relationship ended in the first place and if you did the right thing. I have to admit lots of strange feelings played on my mind for a while.

On the positive side though I also felt it was time to move on, a time for new beginnings, a time to review my life and career,   decide what I want and go forward. I  have decided to start a blog, to do something different something for me.

Now that one door  is now firmly closed  there are lots of windows open – the future is mine and my children’s and its  looking bright.

Till the next time

Dawn  x