I am hoping that this letter reaches you on which other parallel universe you’re living on. Do you remember me? I hope you do as you are often in my thoughts.
As a young woman you and I were inseparable. You could say we were one and the same. We had the same hopes and dreams.
The same expectations.
Mr Darcy would sweep us off our feet in a nightclub and then after a whirlwind romance we would live happily ever after.
We would go to our high powered jobs every day and make our mark on the world. With a sushi salad in our lunch bag, and a spring in our step. We were going to have it all.
Do you remember?
We were going to live in a large 30’s semi in the suburbs with all the original features and our very own double garage. Our house would be clean and homely, and we would own a dishwasher.
We would skip go to the gym 3 times a week to work out, and then we would drink rose wine from an oversized glass with our friends at that wine bar on the high street.
We had such expectations…
We would have 2.5 children and become a mother earth. Wearing floral skirts and having endless patience with our kids.
Our long locks of luscious hair would be a) clean and b) not grey!
Juggling work and home life would be easy for us, doing serious grown up stuff on a part time permanent contract, then finger painting and baking chocolate chip cookies with the kids in our lovely clean semi for the rest of the week.
And our tired little bunnies would snuggle tight in our arms as we padded up the stairs for bedtime adventures of castles, princesses and dinosaurs every night.
But, somewhere in my mid- twenties, in-between leaving college and the birth of my third child. I’m sad to say that we drifted apart old friend.
You see my expectations were blown out of the water when my hubby came along.
Because it turns out that Mr Darcy wasn’t really my ideal man after all. Don’t get me wrong I hope you’re happy together, I truly do. But I met a man who makes me laugh, knocks up a mean lemon drizzle cake, and brings me a cuppa every morning to ease the day in gently.
Truth be told I knew Mr Darcy was no longer the man for me when I had no money back in 1994 and my man shared his cold chips with me sat on a bin in the village! I mean who needs brooding good lucks when you can have soggy chips on a wet Friday evening outside the youth club?
And I'm so sorry to make light of your eating habits, but nowadays the thought of chomping on a salad every day for lunch just doesn’t do it for me anymore. I have discovered I love food too much. Chocolate, bread, crisps, cake… you name it I love it. And I was never one for self-sacrifice anyway.
I am also happy to say that despite not living in a 3 bed semi with traditional features, our little council house has truly become our home. From the tissue splats on the bathroom ceiling (don’t ask) to my little vegetable patch in my front yard. Every crack and speck of dirt in my house is testimony to a happy crazy family life that we have shared here with our friends and family.
And I hope your 2.5 children are as bonkers and full of life as my three little peeps are. My kids quickly became my world when they were born.
And my son has taught me more about myself than I care to admit. He is autistic you see and he has turned my world upside down.
He may not want piggy backs up the stairs, or want bedtime stories all about dinosaurs and fairies. But he is incredible, they are all incredible. I wish you could meet them.
My son is taking me on a journey I never expected to be taking, and to be honest at first I was a little unsure of how to react. But now, well I wouldn’t change him for the world. Instead my world has changed because of him. Work, home, family I mean he teaches me what's truly important.
And I was never very good at the whole work life balance thing anyway. I think I cared too much you see, and that meant I made myself ill trying to be everything to everybody. But my son, hubby and my girls needed me more. So for them I had to leave my job.
That means I may not be changing the world like you are old friend. But I can live with that for now. Who knows what the future holds eh?
But this I do know-
My hair may not long and luscious like yours (in fact it’s short and pretty grey at the moment). And I may drink too much rose wine from that big old glass (not in a wine bar sadly more like slumped in front of the TV trying to stay awake).
But I’m happy, and I hope that wherever you are…you are too!
Life may not have work out for me as I had planned, for a while bad luck and challenges seemed to be the only certainty in my life. And so for a long time I struggled to accept that my lot in life hadn’t lived up to yours.
It appears that my Sat Nav has taken me off the smooth dual carriageway we were cruising along together, onto a wilder bumpy road in the middle of god knows where.
But I have accepted that now. And no matter where I go, you will always be a part of me. When I look back on our time together it’s truly with fondness. But I think now the time is right for me now to move on.
To move on along my new road alone without holding onto your memory. It may be more isolated, and uncertain than I had imagined way back then when we were dreaming of our futures, but I can honestly say that I’m finally enjoying the ride.
Yes the uphill climbs are hard going, but it is so exhilarating when I take my feet off the pedals and whizz down the other side with the wind in my hair, and the views that take my breath away (despite the sore arse it gives me the very next day, its worth every second!)
I truly hope that your journey has allowed you to experience the love and loss, joy and despair, deep emotion and pride that my journey has given me.
And so to the mother that I thought I would become, it’s time for me to say goodbye.
I hope that wherever you are you may be completely, and perfectly and incandescently happy.
(A-Z of Autism acceptance month April 2016)