The Joy and Pain of Love

“I don’t need to do anything special. I just like the feeling of being at home”

Words from my girl as I asked what she wanted to do during her few days with me. Feeling like I wanted to make it special only to find that walking round the corner to the coop and buying some reduced chocolate orange doughnuts, to have with a cuppa when we got back, was completely enough.
Something about the weather and a little magic in the air took us back in time to our life as a young mum with her little girl. Simple living was how we rolled and little chats and laughs were what we shared. I stayed at home with her before she went to school. I remember my Swedish boss, from the bank coming to our flat to offer me redundancy rather than welcoming back a new mother who wouldn’t want to work all those extra long hours. P laughed how she must have marvelled at a flat filled with cheap IKEA furniture. We always preferred to spend my money on a holiday. Anyways I bit her hand off. This was in a time when the needs of working mums wasn’t acknowledged in any way. Well not in that financial world where they pay for you pound of flesh. A lot can change in 19 years. Flexible working and assisted childcare weren’t even whispered.
The truth is that I only ever dreamed of being a mum. That would be deemed as no ambition and yet it’s the greatest role Ive ever had . So I took their offer very cheaply and paid off my credit card and bought us a car that I couldn’t drive and took us on a couple of European trips, knowing that I could spend more time with my girl. I had that taste of the high life for a while but I just didn’t really care for it enough. I had fun and was paid well but it wasn’t enough for me.
And I was always looking for real friends who really cared in the same way I did. They were hard to find in that world. Other than my mate boozy I found all of my other besties since I’ve had my girl.
So living on one cabbie wage for five years with little part time jobs for extras meant pulling in those purse strings and making money stretch. I didn’t care. Budget budget budget but we never let her go without. And I never ever regret that choice. It’s even harder now to have that choice both financially and in a pressure to be a particular type of woman. Not so many women would wish to make that choice now unless they had money to still live a certain standard of life.
But I feel really lucky that I had all that time even though it meant losing my Long term financial security. You can’t get that time back and I treasure it.

I have always felt the joy of love. And never more so than whenever my girl is around. She lights up my world
without doing a thing.
There are only a few that have the ability to do that for me if in different ways. Those that do equally have something special that money cannot buy.

Over the past few days having her back in my world has come with sharing in walks in the forest and a little trip to the more empty streets of London. It was just lovely. Her love of London is hereditary and we didn’t need the crowds or lots f money to love it. We tend to window shop and chat so we had a lot of room to ourselves. We only really wanted to marvel at the lights. .
But we didn’t come home completely empty handed as we managed to find a £10 dress each, which always creates that “love a little bargain” smile. We always have lots of fun together.

I also loved being back in the kitchen with her as she cooks up some dish out of nothing while showing me her dance class warm ups which end with the splits on the kitchen floor. Makes me laugh.
It’s nice to have someone else to twirl with in the kitchen. It’s where we meet in the middle. Cooking however is more her thing unless it’s a fry up or a roast. Then I’m all over it 😊 I have some skills!

When we sit down to chat our differences are so evident. Her edgy and cynically dry vibe that does not have a single ring of that fake performer jazz hands. She puts the real in musical theatre. Anything too fluffy and romantic is just “cringe” in her world whereas she knows with me that a sunset beach, a clear sky lit up with sparkling stars or an autumnal forest alive with magic is the world I inhabit. Less cringe when I share that just because it’s me.
And somehow in amongst all of our opposites we are so close and she always feels really safe to confide in me.
And confide she has over the past few days.
I won’t share what they are but the pain of love was there and I took it and held it and felt it. She needed to release herself from it.
I could see the relief in her face in not having to carry it anymore. Leaving her much lighter to return to a place where she feels happy and comfortable and is full of excitement and possibilities.
Unlike me she is not overly emotional. She just gets on with it. But this last 6 weeks she held what she would have normally shared with me in our random little moments together. “Don’t hold onto all this stuff” I said. “You can’t hurt me with it. I feel happier sharing in your sadness with you than thinking of you being alone in it.”

I mean it’s ok to be alone in it sometimes. We all have to at times. These sad experiences build our resilience to cope with all that life throws at us, but sharing in the sad is just as important as sharing in the happy. Love incorporates both.

I felt that sadness at its full force last night as I cooked a chicken roast for the 3 generations who are feeling that sadness in different ways but are similar in their inability to really share it. None of them wanting to burden the other. I feel like the gatekeeper of it all in knowing what sits behind those pained faces with laughs that cover them.

Sometimes I do question what my purpose is in all this craziness. But over the past few days I have seen very clearly the role that I play. I feel ok to play it right now. Not only for my girl but also for P and his dad.
I know it helps and I know it’s right. But in moments it feels hard.
I know that Last night I created a cosyness that allowed them to feel secure in a time that feels very insecure.
It’s what they are all crying out for and I’m trying to provide.

… but I am also holding on to the piece of me that is for me. That joy I am feeling inside in feeling alive again and wishing to take my opportunities to feel that. To embrace that freedom I worked so hard for. I’m happy to pick up those responsibilities but I continue to try to be me.

So while I hold all their sadness, I also wish to also feel the happiness that belongs to me.
Not the sort of happiness that makes this world go round and round that often comes at a price of others with a queens head stamped on it
This is the kind of happiness that comes from trying to be there for others, from the joy of my girl being with me for a few treasured days and trying to be everything that she needs as well as enjoying everything that she brings, from being around friends I really love who make me laugh and are interesting and wonderful and I love to care about and feel they care about me, and from all those tiny simple things that make every day special even though they are often completely overlooked or unseen, but to me are what makes life beautiful.
In the end life is all about the joy and pain of love in all its different forms.
And as I’ve never ever wanted to follow the crowd and my version of the world inside always feels so much better than the world that is marketed to me, I feel like I have everything I need.
After all I only ever wanted to love and be loved.
So even as she left again this evening back to her new world of freedom, happiness and dreams, and I am left alone feeling so sad in seeing her go with tears in her eyes, I know that she will be fine and that we are both left with that magical feeling that comes from loving someone. Joy and pain existing alongside each other and both being a part of whatl that love is.
Love that don’t cost a thing! As they say … other than what you give of yourself.
Now that’s a price totally worth paying ❤️ x

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