Is when the big anniversaries begin.
Anniversaries of things I didn't plan, didn't expect, hoped would never happen.
Last year was my 25th wedding anniversary, but I didn't even notice. August 27th 2016 is the date on my mind. Because that day will be exactly ten years since I drove away from my marriage with my children. It is not a day I will easily forget.
The planning had taken years. Years of begging for advice, haunting the discussion boards on rollercoaster.ie, endlessly looking for information, years of doubting myself, my life, what was best for the children, for everyone.
I would be leaving the house I loved and hated. I loved its beauty, its history, its promise of a future together in our forever home. A plan that was shattered by forces that seemed beyond the control of either of us, and so I ended up hating my life there and what it was doing to all of us.
So a decision had to be made, and finally it was.
Moving day was pre-planned. My then husband was away and a group of friends and their cars were lined up to help. We forgot that it was a match day and so the neighbours - unasked - helped to keep spaces clear and warned if the clampers were nearby. The neighbours knew why we were leaving, so did the children, family, friends, employers even.
I left the wedding presents, I left the good furniture, I just took my personal belongings, the children's things, Smiley's equipment, a couple of beds and chairs, and some old lockers. Everything we needed was stuffed into black bin liners and supermarket boxes and squashed into the back of whichever car was outside to be ferried over to our new home where the children were patiently waiting.
It was the best and worst of days. The support was unreal, and the emotions intense. A photo of me arriving at the new place makes me look about a hundred years old.
Yet that night, as we all slept in the same (uncurtained) upstairs room, I felt a sense of peace and hope that had long eluded me.
But the stress remained. On day two of our new life I tripped lifting Smiley out of the car and fell. I saved my daughter, but suffered the worst ankle sprain of my life. In pain and shock, I had to call on my friends again, and in the days that followed my leg was every colour of the rainbow, but not in a good way.
Shortly afterwards I passed unwillingly through the door marked menopause, and I'm still looking for the exit sign ten years later.
I began this blog in the other place. But the house that I loved and hated is where I live again. Four years after we left, the keys and deeds were given to me, and here we remain for better or for worse.
2016 is also the 20th anniversary of Smiley's unexpectedly early arrival. Maybe more on that next year...
Reasons to be Cheerful: Family Fun #R2BC - Late to the party again this week! Hope Michelle can forgive me... It has been a rollercoaster week but I have had a few things that have made me smile: ...