Chapter 35 – I needed to find myself again (excerpt)

All content property of Helen Davies. Copyright 2014

Jason and I decided that we should try to cheer ourselves up by investing in the house and redecorating some of the rooms. We hadn’t spent a lot of time or money since the house had been first built five years earlier and some parts were starting to look decidedly tired. This brought us to the point where we decided the time had finally come to move Zac out of the nursery and give him is own ‘big boys’ room. He would move across the landing into what was a spare room, which meant that we needed to build cupboard space and tidy the room we used as an office and general store room to make that a second spare room.

Overall we ended up decorating three rooms, having the paintwork in the nursery freshened up and then having the full house repainted. The project gave me a focus and gave the family a feel good factor, as we got excited about how nice the house was going to look with all the changes.

I hired an interior designer to give me ideas and a mood board for the downstairs and ordered new wallpaper and curtains for the lounge and dining area. We had new floor to ceiling cupboards built in the new guest room, created a new office area and spent a fortune on new bedroom furniture and accessories for Zac.

After looking at pirate themed rooms for months and deciding on various elements that I thought looked really cool and perfect for Zac, he informed me that he wanted a football themed room and certainly not pirates. There was no persuading him, so football it was. I refused however to have green curtains, walls or bedding and was adamant it wasn’t going to be Hull City’s black and amber, instead I found a gorgeous mix of wallpaper, bedding and curtains in various blues and reds with the highlight being a huge navy silhouette of a footballer on one wall.   I had his first Hull City shirt framed, which was signed by Dean Windass, along with our programme from the Wembley final where Deano scored, which we put on one wall too. He absolutely loved it and he especially loved his two huge drawers under his bed, one for fancy dress and one for football kits. It was all designed around him for him and he loved everything about it.

Then it hit me. We were moving Zac out of the nursery. We had an empty nursery, a situation I had been trying to avoid. What was worse was that the painters had taken down all his nursery paintings from the back of the two doors in the kitchen before I had had time to take them down myself and when I came home from work that night to see two freshly painted, white doors, it was like someone was stripping the house of my baby. Removing every trace from the house. I broke my heart that night and I can honestly say that the act of someone removing those painting still hurts me to this day. I wasn’t ready. I hadn’t realised they would need taking down and I hadn’t prepared myself for what was a huge milestone in his growing up and our family dynamic moving further forward and further away from babies.

That weekend we spent a Sunday afternoon putting Zac’s furniture together with all three of us involved. It was lovely spending time doing something together and as it was all starting to take shape Zac was getting more and more excited, to the point where he was starting to get hyper and get on our nerves!

We had three funky box shelves for one of the walls and I put his old comforter ‘nan nights’ in one of them and I proudly showed him where he could keep it and show it off. He was incensed at my suggestion and told me that it was not for his new room and that it was for babies. I pleaded with him to hang onto it in his new room and that he didn’t need it in his bed but it could have a new home on his shelf but he again told me I had to take it back to the nursery for babies.

I walked out of the room and across the landing back into the nursery, holding ‘nan nights’ and I placed the frayed worn out teddy back on the shelf with all the other baby teddies. I felt like I was betraying ‘nan nights’ that had previously spent every waking and sleeping moment with Zac, so much so he was mostly threadbare. I was desperately trying not to cry but it felt like the final act in saying goodbye to my baby. He didn’t want his comforter anymore and we had nobody else who would love it. Zac’s words cut threw me and I had big heavy sobs caught up in my throat. It all seemed so ridiculous but yet so hurtful and painful. Jason had obviously had a word with Zac, as he followed me into the nursery and gave me a hug. My little four year old boy was comforting me about a bloody washed out, worn out teddy. It was ridiculous! And yet, as ridiculous as it seemed, it was another seemingly insignificant, innocent moment that broke my heart and reminded me of what I was missing. I missed my baby boy and both myself and ‘nan nights’ were missing having a baby to love us.

That night as I lay with Zac in his bed having our usual little chat before he closed his eyes he said: “Mummy, why were you crying? Do you want me to have that teddy in my room?” I smiled at his innocent question and I had to agree with him that it was for babies and that I was crying because he was growing up and I felt that ‘nan nights’ didn’t have anyone to love it. I suggested I would pop in every now and again and say hello so he wasn’t lonely. After Zac then said that he would have it in his room, I was quick to reassure him ‘nan nights’ didn’t belong in his big boy, football room and I tucked him in, squeezing him good night. My baby boy was so grown up in so many ways these days.

Finishing Zac’s room had taken all day and I found it really hard. I felt like I was being forced to do it and as I transferred his clothes across the landing, every step seemed heavy and hard to take. Every so often Jason would give me a hug or smile at me and crack a joke to make me laugh. It just felt like the hardest time and it physically hurt. I felt like I was erasing any trace of babyness from the house, even though Zac had outgrown the nursery, the decoration and the cot bed, months before

Later that week I got my period.   Another milestone. Another cycle. Another chance.

The following weekend we finished moving all Zac’s clothes and bits and pieces, which gave us the opportunity to clear out a load of old stuff from nursery.   We changed the room round so it wasn’t just as it had been and now empty, we put sofa in one corner and left the door open so it wasn’t closed away. Having the cot bed as a bed rather than the cot also helped, and in fact it made it a nice guest room for when Minnie or Zara came to stay.

This time, just one week later, it didn’t feel like we were losing a baby but that we were preparing for a baby and preparing for a future. Instead of being sad at throwing things away, I had starting thinking that I wouldn’t put that on my new baby or that something was too old or too worn for a new baby. Just seven days later, the same chores now seemed liberating and positive and I started to feel lighter, brighter and physically more capable of picking myself up. My mood seemed to thrive on the thought that now Zac needed to move into his new room to make way for a new baby, which was a complete revelation compared to my dark mood and thoughts from the previous weekend.

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