Friends

All posts tagged Friends

#PersonalLife – “Karaoke Family”

Published December 4, 2013 by mandzmagee

For months since meeting a (newish) best friend after randomly on the walkway at silly o’clock in the morning I’ve started going to Irene’s Karaoke at the club on a Tuesday night for a little bit of me time.  My one night a week respite from all the things that are boiling my brain at home (or away) where I get to have a few drinks and have time with new found friends whilst murdering … sorry … “singing” away with a few tunes and letting my hair down!!  (murdering can sometimes be a more apt description haha!!)

I hadn’t gone to any of her nights last week as I’d been bedridden with the flu the majority of the week, tonight Irene stood and told me how much I was missed and how she and all of her regulars (and there’s a fair few of them!) were now classing me as part of their “Karaoke Family”.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve not moved down here and not made any friends but …  I genuinely miss the friends and family that were in my life day in day out though, week in week out and so on, that were up the road that I never see or hear from unless I’m either in Dumfries or have a reason for them or myself to get in touch for special events or what have you these days.  I’ve never really had that with anyone down here tho, all of my mates have been made through Stuart or from working in the bar where they knew me from pulling their pints (not that that’s a bad thing in any which way… only I found this friend myself 🙂 !) … I’ve friends that I could turn too about anything at any time … but they’re not as involved as the one that were up the road if you get what I mean?!

Well Irene, Karlos and Amie (Irene’s partner and daughter) have completely turned that around.  They’re in touch with me as much as I am them, we’re catching up on a regular basis.  If it wasn’t for the Karaoke night’s they’d be in touch or meeting up anyway, we invite each other on nights out (or nights in!), they’ve the same nonjudgmental attitude as I have where absolutely nothing has to be said diplomatically (thank goodness!) …. it’s just said as it is, advice and support is there 24/7/365.

Absolute breath of fresh air!  When she told me (under no pretense) tonight that I was part of the “Karaoke Family” and was missed by everyone when I wasn’t turning up it meant so much to me, really hit home that our friendship was unconditional and that the regulars that came in that I was classing as friends were absolutely there too!  Nice to know that my friendship to her meant as much to her as hers does to me!!

As you’ll be able to tell … I’ve had a brilliant night … the ones with brilliant friends always are!!

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When You’ve Met One Person With #Autism

Published January 16, 2013 by mandzmagee

Over the past few weeks I’ve spent time with people who’ve wanted to learn more about ASD.  It’s been interesting hearing what their perceptions about it has been and where they learn their perceptions from.  After finding out how they base all their knowledge on films such as “Rain Man” and “Mercury Rising” and the such likes, I begin to tell them about Theo’s daily routines and how life is for him.

I try to express as strongly as possible that “When you’ve met one person with Autism, You’ve met ONE person with Autism”.

I could talk forever and a day about Theo, about how life is different for his siblings and our family.  I could talk forever and a day about how if his routine is messed up it can take from hours to days to try and settle him back into his normality depending on how upset and anxious this change has made him.  I could talk about how moving from Dumfries to Washington has made such a dramatic impact on his development that the things I was told he’d “never achieve” have been accomplished and how he’s surpassed his believers expectations never mind the disbelievers.

I always come back to the same line however “When you’ve met Theo, You’ve only met Theo”.

It doesn’t matter if you know a million and one children with ASD, you still know another million and one more that have ASD affect their lives in different ways to the first lot!

I’ve found myself suggesting groups and blogs to people via facebook and I came across one group which I found perfect to reference people too, people with ASD, parents, carers, family members have all posted up a picture of “The hidden disability” and a little bio of the person with ASD’s likes and dislikes.  It shows how such a small label is different in such a vast variety of ways.  It’s also very very humbling to read.  The page is available here … https://www.facebook.com/AutismShines?ref=ts&fref=ts

I absolutely encourage you to help your knowledge of Autism grow and develop by looking at the page!!

The Caregivers Check List and the “You Time” Challenge! – #Caregivers #Parents

Published January 9, 2013 by mandzmagee

Natural feelings and thoughts that can go through a carers head.

These thoughts are what can come from being a completely selfless human being, giving care to a friend or a loved one who is dependant on you and has entrusted you to serve their care duties.  If there is one care giver in this world that states that they haven’t had at least one of these thoughts pop into their heads, I’d be the first person to stand there and tell them that they’re lying.  I myself have felt low, jealous, constantly tired, so on and so forth because I overworked myself and didn’t give myself the chance to have a little bit of “Me Time”.

It wasn’t until I got with Stuart after having years of very limited support with Theo, I realised that I didn’t have to do everything myself, if I was feeling low he’d take Theo out and give me the chance to catch up on some sleep or have a shower or do the dishes or just do something where I didn’t have to be 100% alert as to what he was doing.  I felt guilty as sin that he was doing it and I had no option but to accept the fact that he was doing it because it was his way or no way.

Once I’d gotten over the whole self indulged guilt trip and realised that he was doing a fantastic thing and improving my care for Theo I finally accepted things as they were.  That little bit of time that he was giving me for what ever reason absolutely improved my relationship with Theo, it improved his bond with Theo (to the point where he now classes him as Dad), it also gave him the chance to help Ali, Theo and Alex a better relationship as they all seen that the way forwards was a family unit, not Mummy doing it all.  All round that man has worked wonders for our little family.

However … back to my point … Are you a caregiver that’s felt any of those feelings or had any of those thoughts?  Are you a friend of a caregiver (no matter what the situation is) that has noticed changes that could be fitted around any of those thoughts or feelings in their friend?  Make a difference for yourself and the fantastic work that you do … Have a little bit of “You Time!”.

Before your time of being a care giver, did you have a hobby you used to take part in that you gave up?  Did you have friends that you never get the time to speak too face to face any more?  Did you meditate?  Did you go swimming?  Did you do anything that you’re now always thinking that you’d love just half an hour to yourself to do?    Is there something new you’d like to be able to try?  Do you want to learn how to knit, embroider, cross stitch, play a musical instrument, is there a cupboard that needs cleaned out that would give you so much pleasure out of finally getting it done? … you probably get the point by now …  But this is your chance to grasp it!

If you are lucky enough to have someone that the person you care for and yourself trusts to take over the duties for half an hour, an hour, two hours … probably pushing it but … over night?!  Ask them!  They’ve probably been sitting on the edge of their seats wanting to offer to help out however not wanted to offend you or diminish the fantastic job that you’ve been doing so thought it best to wait until you asked them. (Or if you are that person that would love the opportunity speak to the Angel and offer!).  Lets face it, the worst that can happen is be told “No” … You’ll have been told worse in your life at one point or another!

If you haven’t got anyone that you can turn too, when the person you’re caring for is in bed at night, out at a meeting/school/playgroup or so on n so forth, Grant yourself a little piece of that time to indulge yourself in something for you!  All the other jobs and tasks and routines can be arranged around it, just give yourself that time!!

My challenge to all Caregivers 

Start with half an hour through out a week, even if it’s 5 mins one day, 10 another etc.  Just give yourself that time to get your mind away from the thoughts above and 100% back onto the job.

Think of it along the lines of … You’re not being selfish because you’re doing something for yourself … You are improving the perfection on the care because you have done something for yourself!

Our Happy New Year! – #Autism

Published January 9, 2013 by mandzmagee

Yup slightly late I know … I’ve been a busy bunny over the festive period however!!

The Christmas Holidays were certainly filled with surprises with our family!!  Theo especially, Christmas is normally something that goes completely over his head, he hates the mess of the decorations and just wants to clean them up … that obsession stayed … he still wants to “Tidy up”.  This Christmas however, he’s actually been quite excited about Santa coming!!  Don’t get me wrong, he is still terrified of the big cuddly jolly man, he did actually count down the days of Santa coming!!  As you can see in the following video …

Theo Counting Down Until Santa Was Coming! – Video

I genuinely can’t put into words how much it’s actually meant to all of the family how much his understanding of Christmas has meant to us, lets just say that over the moon doesn’t even cover it!!

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Theo In The Christmas Spirit

All three of the lads had a magical time on Christmas Day, Ali spent the day with us and Stu’s family then headed off up to Scotland early evening so that he could go and have another Christmas Day with his Dad’s side of the family (two Christmas dinners in two days the lucky lil thing!!).  Then Alex and Theo were engrossed in their new things, Theo hid himself away in his bedroom wanting to just obsessed over his new DVD player and new DVD’s.  Alex on the other hand had me reading all his new stories, playing with his new lego and other super hero toys.  Again to say he was happy is a massive understatement that cannot be put into words!!

Grandma Julie got Theo a Talking Tom cuddly cat, (you may have seen Talking Tom free applications on your smart phones … They’re fantastic for getting the kids to interact with!!  There’s a multitude of characters to choose from but if you look for Talking Tom you’ll be linked straight too them!!).  Theo has “Eeoo’s Om Caat” talking away to him constantly now and has started repeating more words and phrases finding it hilarious to have a talking cat.  He is now however getting rather frustrated that our cat wont talk back to him haha!!  Very cute too watch!!

Theo enjoying himself at his Grandparents on Christmas day!! – Video

I’ve had a couple of nights out with my inlaw family (an absolute luxury to me as I hardly ever go out at nights!), Christmas Eve (birthday celebration as my birthday is Christmas Day).  A meal for a cousin’s birthday which ended up in us staying out til the nightclub closed and then not leaving (Stu’s) Mam’s until silly o’clock in the morning!!  On New Years Day Mother-in-law and I went to our local for what was going to be a few drinks in the afternoon and well, we didn’t leave the local until closing time!!  It was an absolutely fantastic time because so many people I hadn’t seen since giving my job up at the bar were in and I got the chance to have a catch up with them.  (Thankfully I (think I) remember it all!!).

My Birthday Cake from Stu,

My Birthday Cake from Stu, and the boys!

Stu and I also had a chance to catch up with friends at home that we hadn’t seen or spent quality time with for such a long time.  It had been far too long and will definitely be remedied, we’re definitely not leaving it so long again!!

Yesterday Alisdair and Theo went back to school and I think it was a relief to both of them to be fair.  Deffo was Theo, he was such a happy little boy when he came in from his school Taxi.  I think it took a hell of a lot out of him though, by 6pm he took himself off to bed and we didn’t hear him for long!!  Thankfully over the holidays he found out what it was to stay in bed and just relax!!  So hopefully that’ll be him for at least another hour going by holiday routine, what’s the bet school puts him back into his previous routine lol.  So far so good however, it’s 6:15am and he’s still asleep, before the holidays it was a 4 – 5am rise!  *keeping my fingers and toes crossed that Stu and I can fall back into a routine where we’re not getting up at pre-Christmas times still for long if it does last!!*

The only thing that has let the beginning of the New Year down is the break down in the central heating and the boiler however it’s all good now so we’re back on the right tracks!!

Theo in his school play Sheppard's costume.  He certainly shined bright like a diamond on stage!

Theo in his school play Sheppard’s costume. He certainly shined bright like a diamond on stage!

I hope you’ve all had a magical Christmas, the most fabulous of New Years and I hope that 2013 brings you health, wealth and happiness!!

Thanks again for reading!!

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Over the past year – #Family #Life

Published December 21, 2012 by mandzmagee

I’ve been sitting thinking back across the past year and well what a year it’s been!!

Stu and I have continued to grow and develop as a couple, yeah we’ve had our ups and downs but we’ve always been there for each other and no matter how difficult things have been we’ve supported each other through everything.  He’s an amazing person, I don’t know what I’d ever do without him.

Alisdair is forever turning into the young man, which is absolutely making me feel so old but I genuinely couldn’t be any more proud of him either.  He took his options for his GCSE’s at school and has stuck in doing really well at reaching target grades, well all except PE but lets be fair, it’s not everyone’s forte!  He spent the best part of 6 weeks in Europe with his Dad’s family living experiences I can only dream of and shared all of them with us when he got back, so proud of his photo’s and treasures that he bought along the way.  He goes with them every year for the summer holidays from school and it’s a long time to be away from him but hearing his stories and seeing how happy he is and sharing all the knowledge he’s gained it genuinely makes it such an amazing experience for us also!

Theo, well what can I say about him, every day he continues to strive, develop, surprise, frustrate, however most of all, make us smile!  His speech has absolutely came on, fair enough it may only be the people that’s around him every day that understands him but the progress has been amazing.  He’s grown in confidence in different situations, our holiday to Southerness for example, we were so worried that the change to his routine would have knocked him for six but he settled absolutely fine!  He didn’t care that he was away from home, he absolutely loved seeing his family that he hadn’t seen in years having remembered all of them and called them by name (in his “language”) without being prompted too!  He’s became more acceptant to playing with others and sharing his toys, which was a massive no-no this time last year!  On the whole it’s been a fantastic year for his progress and is ending the year as a happier and more confident, loving boy.

Alex, he too has developed massively, he’s genuinely such an intelligent child!  Having started year 1 at school his reading and imagination work has been truly unbelievable!  His confidence has been a little patchy but we’re working on that and have seen it grow and develop before our eyes too.  You’d swear that the little man has been here before!  He’s forever reminiscing about things we’ve all done together and relaying absolutely EVERY little detail about what’s happened, he’s like a walking diary for his life!  His Mammy is going to be having a baby in a few months and he’s never been more proud about going to have a little brother, it’s so lovely to see the pride in him telling our friends and family that he’s going to be a big brother.  It brings a tear to my eye every time!

Unfortunately it’s not all been high’s along the way this year, we lost a dear friend Jimmy within weeks of receiving a diagnosis of cancer in the stomach.  My Uncle Sandy to natural causes, I hadn’t seen him in such a long time but it absolutely hadn’t eased the pain of saying goodbye.  Then of course my Uncle Bill a couple of months later.  Uncle Bill went through a long ongoing struggle of alzheimer’s and other medical issues it was just a matter of time, again however, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve got to prepare yourself it doesn’t hurt any less.

Death may take away the person but nothing takes away the love and memories!

Over the years we’ve all lost friends, family and loved ones.  I absolutely believe we’ll see them again, and I know that this Christmas they’ll all be celebrating together and making sure that my Ickle Bubbs is having a fantastic time until we’re all together again.

I want to thank all of my family and friends for being there for me through out the year.  I love and appreciate you’s each in your own little ways!!

Stacey P – For seeming to always have a day off for bringing me back home from Dumfries!!  Coming down and keeping the friendship and bond with the family and me even with the miles between us!!

Kenty – Just for being you in general, you’re always the sensible one to talk too.  You make time for us when we need you and well our debates are always fantastic – we’ll always be able to agree to disagree after a few hours (and drinks!)  haha!!  You were my best friend down here before I even met ya!!

Lucy and John – You’ve also both been there for me since before I moved here, it’s ridiculous that we only live around the corner and never see each other.  I was so proud to have been invited to your wedding, the kids and you’s were so beautiful, it couldn’t have meant more to have been there to celebrate the day with you all!!

Tammy and Ecky – You’s are like my sisters and I love you’s unconditionally forever more.  You’s have dragged me out of the darkest of times and are always at the other end of the phone.  We just need to see each other more often!!

Jackson and Jasmine – Always my little miracles, growing up far too quickly and it doesn’t matter what you’s are going through I’m ALWAYS here for you’s!!  Just a phone call gets me there as soon as I can be!!

Kirsty –  I know we’re not in touch as much as we should be but with what we’ve been through in our lives together I simply can’t class you as anything less than a best friend.  Your friendship has always meant the world to me and again, we just need to see each other and keep in touch more often!  I have to admit tho, when we do get together it’s as if we’ve just picked up where we left it the last time!

Marion – I spent years wondering about you and I’m so pleased that you’ve been able to step back into our lives.  I don’t need to go into detail about how much it’s actually meant but you’ve helped so much you’d not believe!

If I’ve not mentioned you – well this is a big enough essay already haha!!  Those that I love and respect know it.

I wish you’s all a fantastic Christmas, a brilliant Hogmanay (you can take the girl outta Scotland, not Scotland out of the girl however haha!!) and all the best for a fantastic and magical 2013!!  Love and hugs to you all!!

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