three hundred and sixty six


15 January. My final grateful, gotta love a leap year. I am grateful for a final contemplative moment. For a weak wireless signal, so I found myself on the balcony desperately seeking connection. To no avail. But an imperfectly perfect end to my 366 gratefuls. I am grateful for real time and real connections. They are all that matter. And for them I will never ever stop being grateful. For love. And for this glorious imperfect life.


I realised the other night to be taken seriously, in a networking context, you need a business card. Never mind how bad. It was hilarious as we all stood around with our glass or glasses of champagne the gap in the conversation when my friend and I didn’t whip out our business cards.  And seriously it really doesn’t matter what it says, there were some doozies, but you’re nobody without a card. It was such a fabulous moment as my friend and I exchanged glances, fuck, what can we hand over so we’re not left out? I’m joking of course, we really couldn’t care but it was very funny. She offered her visa card but it was not accepted despite being of the most value. And I don’t mean only financial. Anyway, I’ve already started designing mine. Seriously can’t wait for our next event so I can hand mine out.  It’s going to be a doozy.


I think maybe I’ve mellowed. As a parent I mean. Or maybe it’s because there’s another me in the family now, who has the energy and tenacity of a nearly 15 year old. Jem was on her laptop, and I could see what she was doing from where I sat. I noticed with idle interest the blood and screaming and stuff. Some trailer for some extremely gorey completely revolting horror movie. Kate took one look and said Jemma, what are you watching. In a very stern voice. Followed by that is completely inappropriate. I must admit I just sat there, feeling a tad embarrassed. She was absolutely right. The really funny bit was, Jem listened to her, turning it off. Then looked at me, as we sheepishly smiled at each other. Yeah Jem, what she said. It’s happening already. I’m sure I was at least eighteen before I knew I knew better than my mom. The thing is, I never really did. But shit, I think Kate does.

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I am humbled, and often surprised to be honest, by who is reading me. And very grateful that my musings, and often my rants strike a chord with some of you in some way. Mostly because whether it’s crap about cancer, relationships, teenagers, children, moving home, moving country, surviving in a new one etc etc, most of you it seems can relate in some way to my venting. Even if it’s not always particularly attractive. And sometimes a tad uncomfortable. And maybe sometimes a little too much. So for you, and for me I’ll continue. But mostly because I have to finish my 365 gratefuls. Which brings me to my next point. It seems some and I have to admit mostly men (sorry) and in fairness those new to me, can’t understand why some of my posts are numbered. And some not. Oy vey. Ok … so, the numbered posts started at one and are currently at one hundred and forty six and are stored under category grateful posts 365. This was the starting point of all of this. For 365 days (aka one year)I need to formalise via this blog one thing I am grateful for. To help me focus on what I have, not what I don’t have. To acknowledge in the down days how much I have to be grateful for, the unexpected, the mundane, the expected. Gratitude is everything. This led to some questions from you about what where and how I am today, so the musings, sharings and ventings started, categorised mostly under stuff, but some also under why, which is where you’ll find this one. The three categories are on the right hand side of the home page (why, stuff, grateful posts 365) but you can also highlight any of  the blue tags to see blogs on a particular subject, be it love, friends, wine, breast cancer whatever, whatever. Hope this makes a little sense. I have to say I know this is weird for some of you, confronting for others, helpful to others. But those who get it, who get me and the need for this, I thank you. Because it really is helping me.


I had my breast reconstruction on valentine’s day 2008. So, it’s different for me now. Today 4 years ago I was given me back. Well, a slightly different version of me. A forever physically altered version of me. The me they could sort of bring back. A patched up me. The other old me is gone forever. And I don’t mean that in a sad way. I loved that me then but I love this me now. It’s taken me a while to realise that. That was then and this is now.  But then, I didn’t get it. I honestly thought if I got my breast back, I would be whole again. I could wipe my hands on my jeans, that’s that and it would all be gone. If I could have two grateful posts today, and no I can’t because those are my rules, this would be my second. I am grateful to my wonderful plastic surgeon, Dr Gereth Edwards, who knew me better than I knew myself and who didn’t put up with my crap. The world is poorer for him no longer practising due to an unexpected stroke. And especially because his priority was not people like me, but people who couldn’t pay, who had no hope. He was a saint. He was a young saint.  He didn’t say what I wanted to hear. He was so brutally honest, I hated him at first. But he made sure I understood I would never ever look like that me again. He knew I simply couldn’t comprehend the enormity of it all. Of my disease. I fought so hard and he never let me win. And then I surrendered to him. And here I am. Scarred, but me. A new improved me, who loves her new patched together breasts. If I didn’t think some of you might be offended, and my family mortified I would have shared a pic of my man made breast and my recreated nipple from my tummy, with you.  My previous breasts have been bared on all the best beaches in the world, on a chesterfield with some of my agency colleagues (did I mention I can’t resisit a dare) and breastfed my precious children. I miss them. I shared them. I took them for granted. But these new ones, I am even more proud to share. And eternally grateful to Dr Edwards for. Mostly because I know now, I am so much more than the physical me.


No-one said it was going to be easy. To be the mother of a teenager. And I am keeping it in perspective. I am.  But this was exactly what I didn’t want to happen. And exactly what I knew was going to happen.  And exactly what I told myself I had to step back from and let happen. My baby being hurt and let down by some little prick. I know she believed he was more than he was capable of being right now, but he should never have let her believe it. I do have compassion for this boy, because he is going through some serious stuff right now. Far too heavy for a boy of his age, let alone a girl of Kate’s age and sensitivity to be dealing with.  I think he gets this and wants to protect her from it but is incapable of treating her with the respect she deserves. Well, I hope he gets this. Or of understanding how much true compassion and empathy she has.  He couldn’t have wished to have a more perfect angel at his side right now, but he has no idea how broad and beautiful her wings are. He has no idea how to lean on her.  And nor does she know truly what she has. But I see it, fuck do I see it.  Maybe I should thank him for not forcing her to find out just yet. She gave him chance after chance after chance to be the man I think he is down deep inside.To be the person she saw he was, or is going to be. He made her happy, but he also made her sad. So very very sad. And for that I’d like to wring his neck. And mine and B’s, for knowing we were right to forbid it, but didn’t, because we knew it was her choice to make.


Today was the first time I heard Kate swear.  Hilarious I know considering her mother’s favourite adjective is fucking.  As in that dress is fucking nice.  No prizes for guessing why she felt the need.  Her first relationship.  As in this is crap.  I am writing it here because it is burning up inside me and I just can’t say it to her … so here goes … I told you so.  Whilst  I love being right this is one time I wish I wasn’t.  It is so hard watching the emotions flit across her face as her childish expectations of how others should behave are shattered one by one.  Just when I thought what do I do if it all ends and she crumbles, she sighed, put down her mobile and said this is crap.  As in, I just can’t be bothered with this. Hard to disagree with her.  It is crap.  But as she keeps reminding me, it’s her crap and she has to experience it.   I promise I am letting go.  But I did manage to dictate a few responses for her first.