This weekend something amazing happened.
We were invited to a birthday party.
After this feat of brilliance, I seized the day yesterday and went small-person-affordable-gift-shopping. I wrote (on behalf of Wriggles) a card and sealed the envelope in the hope that if I wanted to chicken out I might reason that that would mean a wasted card. This morning I wrapped up a copy of What The Ladybird Who Heard whilst fending off an energetic Wriggles who wanted to eat the sellotape, and tried to find a pair of leggings that didn't have any food down: a near impossible task. For someone that barely eats, all her clothes are covered in bizarre stains and trodden in crumbs.
As the time drew near I ummed and ahhhed. I felt nervous and began to look for excuses. I could see the opportunity slipping away and in a rare fit of decisiveness, grabbed the A-Z and tried to locate the party location. It was less than 10 minutes walk away. The sun had come out. I was running out of excuses. Wriggles had found a shiny box and was pacified. As long as she was still allowed to hold the box, she was happy to put her coat on. Now I had no excuse. Before the moment was gone, we left. As I walked along the road, thoughts niggled at my brain. Was I going to be the only unmarried one? Were their husbands going to be terrifying? I don't even know why these felt important things. I think the one of the hard things about mental health wobbles are the feelings of inadequacy it cloaks you in. I often have felt conscious of being babyfaced and a single parent and worry that it isolates me. In reality, it doesn't or at least hasn't so far. I have been pleasantly surprised that no ones gives two hoots if your house is magazine-perfect (mine isn't for the record, it is a scruffy flat) or Mr Darcy brings you breakfast in bed. Probably as so many mothers are battling through sleepless nights and chasing around after mad toddlers to rub together enough brain cells to care. It is so easy to forget the two things that unite most parents are their children and the helpless desperation to Get It Right whilst doubt and guilt gnaw at you every time CBeebies is switched on.
The worries were all unfounded. We had a truly lovely afternoon, the babies all played (relatively) nicely and everyone was so friendly. I hope these are the beginnings of real friendships; even if they are not, I can't think of many ways better to spend a weekend that in the company of some Good Eggs especially when you get two types of cake and ice cream at the end.
Walking back home at 7pm (if you're going to party, you need to do it properly. I'm installing this in Wriggles from an early age) in the golden fading sun, I felt euphoric. It is such a small thing, but for me, such a big step. It felt like I had broke through a fog holding me back and hiding me from the world I crave to be part of, that I should belong to. It made me so happy to feel like I was grabbing life with both hands and loving it, rather than living in bad memories.