Friends! Seeing friends! Friends who see me for who I am, not as some sort of food/toy/attention dispensing machine. I love that my children are friends with my friends' children. It gives the best feeling. Best time with friend A, who invaded our house with her husband and three adopted children. The children played all day whilst us adults got to talk and laugh and eat pudding. This is friend A, who made me a cake for my birthday which I hadn't felt the right to celebrate. Will never forget.
Holiday! The seaside is always so much better with sunshine and we had it in spades! A healthy few days of being outside, eating well and playing together, did this family the world of good.
Being able to enjoy the children's company! I have found that this is entirely possible on a regular basis now that they are not constantly purging trauma and grief all over me. I think the children are actually happy.
Tantrums. Son's. Every day for the first five weeks. The screaming, banging of doors, destruction of property was inexplicable to me, but then son explained that he was angry because he had lost a favourite toy: Mr T. By fluke, a couple of days after that confession, I found Mr T. Peace restored. But five weeks of tantrums tested my patience to the limit and made me really angry at my son at times. I don't know where we would be now if he'd have kept his daily rage up for the whole seven weeks.
Boredom. I much prefer the boredom I felt this holiday to the anxiety I felt all last summer, but even so. Doing kids' stuff with kids can actually be very boring when you are doing it for hours every day, for weeks on end. Believe it or not.
My anger at my own mother. All summer, my mother has felt like a third child. She's very using of me; relying on me for emotional support when I am battling to keep myself in a good place. I've done my best, but I haven't felt a good enough daughter. This is draining considering that I am also always wondering whether I am a good enough mother!
The time I started screaming at my son to stop screaming.
The day we went to the safari park and it took me hours to stop being horrible to my husband and allow him (and me) to enjoy the day.
Insomnia. On and off throughout the summer. I have a really ugly mind when I wake up tired and I hate everybody.
Whilst life with my kids will never be easy, I have learnt that I can manage them well. I can make them happy. And that they can make me happy. It just can't be that way all the time.