Tuesday 12 March 2019

On being a Grandma

I've always wanted babies, in fact most of my early life they were all I wanted.
During career's interviews at school I lied and said I wanted to be an astronaut or F1 driver, however my memory is hazy, so I probably said something a lot more achievable, but what I wanted to say was that I wanted to be a mother.

In my early 20's I got my wish and had 3 beautiful babies, that grew quickly into 3 beautiful people

These are the yearly photos, this photo frame is one of my most treasured possessions, as it shows how my family grew, it spans from 1986 to 2004. By 2004 I had stumbled on a career path and built my own indie dyeing business, I had ambitions, drove my business and certainly didn't even think about the possibility of grandchildren.

My babies carried on growing and turned into beautiful adults, they still make me proud to be their mum every day.
Then just over 2 years ago my middle baby Daisy told me she was pregnant, even though I was over the moon and excited for her, I felt a sadness that I was now officially old.
As her bump grew so did my love for it, I felt the baby kick and watched it move, memory's flooded back of my own pregnancies. But I was terrified for her, because I knew what she had to go through to bring her bump into the world. As her mummy my job is to protect her and there was nothing I could do to save her from the pain.
As it was she had a horrible labour, much worse than mine, 24 hrs, 3 hrs pushing, a stuck baby that even the midwife couldn't pull out with forceps and an emergency cesarean.
But at the end of it she and Adam were the proud parents of Albert Theodore.

I didn't expect to feel maternal love for anything else as much as I did for my own babies, but as soon as I cuddled him waves of  love poured out for him, it was almost as if he was my 4th baby.

We and his other grandparents are so privileged to live in the same small village as our grandson, Nanny Jo and I are good friends and enjoy each others company. I don't feel jealous of the time she spends with him as I know she loves and nurtures him as much as I do. We are both lucky to be such a big part of his life.

I see Bert most days (especially at the moment) and have watched him grow and turn into a inquisitive toddler. Its a completely different experience than motherhood, with my own babies I was too busy and too close to see each tiny development. With Bert, I can watch him learn, how to crawl, how to walk, how to talk etc He stacks duplo, reads books, plays with balls and loves dogs. This week he gave me a  first hug, a proper intentional hug, which melted my heart.

I have a life when Bert's not with me, I can cuddle him and give him back, so I haven't given up my life for him. I've carried on working and published a book of baby blankets for Bert.
To have a career and a baby to love and cuddle is the best of both worlds, I look at grandparents with different eyes and am happy to be one.

Last summer Daisy became pregnant with Bert's sibling, (the due date is in 12 days time)
She has a gigantic baby bump and is struggling to walk, pick up Bert or do anything too physical. Since she went on maternity leave a few weeks ago we are spending even more time together than we normally do. I am just as anxious for her, probably worse this time due to her last labour, so I'm not really working, I'm too busy helping out with Bert and worrying about things I can't change.

I'm not even doing much crochet, I can't concentrate,  I feel like my life is on hold, sometime in the next 4 weeks it will change when grandbaby number 2 arrives. 
In some ways its worse than waiting for your own baby, at least you know how your body feels, all I can do is watch and wait to cuddle Bert's sibling, who will be loved and cherished just as much as its older brother.

Friday 1 March 2019

Cross roads

I've come to a crossroads in my life.
Do I follow my career as a designer fighting for success or do I sit back and enjoy a stress free life?

I've been part of the wool world for nearly 20 years. During that time I built a successful hand dyeing business and became an author of several successful books, but even though I've be successful its never been easy I've had to fight every day to earn a living.
We are blessed with 3 beautiful creative children and 33 year old happy marriage, but the rest of life hasn't been kind to us. We've struggled from one disaster to another, redundancy, losing our house, being homeless for a year, another redundancy, moving into 5 different rented houses in 7 years
I've finally reached a point where I have succumbed to mental exhaustion, I've lost my ambition, I don't want to fight anymore.
I think its because I have reached a happy place. I'm live in an amazing, beautiful, unspoilt part of the country in a tiny flat with a tiny courtyard that I love, I have one grand baby and another due in a couple of weeks, who live in the flat above us.

I need to stop looking at my contemporary's and their successes, which will stop me feeling like a failure the whole time. Reading about everybody's CAL's and exciting crochet ventures makes me feel inadequate, so I need spend less time social networking.
Looking at photo's of yarn shows makes me sad because I'm not there. I used to love shows, spending time with our woolly friends and  meeting our lovely customers, but I hated the worry of whether we would sell enough yarn to cover costs, breaking down after the show, being exhausted from standing on your feet for 9 hours, so really I don't miss them at all.

Over the years I have been repeatedly told not to worry about everyone else's success and concentrate on my own, its very good advice if only I could of put it in practise.
I want to put it in practise now, and only do the things that make me happy.
I will never stop obsessively making art (blankets) and creating books which are a part of the process.
But I want to stop feeling guilty because I'm not social networking every day, chasing publicity, chasing wholesale possibilities, trying to compete with the competition.

So I've chosen to take the path to relax and enjoy what I do guilt free, sit in the sun, drink cocktails by the sea, play with my grandbabies and run my dogs on the beach.
I have a new motif project planned for later in the year that I'm so excited about. Once my grandbaby is born I can get a bit of head space back and do some serious designing and planning.