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So much more than results.

Raven and her Dad.   I am so proud of my daughter Raven . She once said to me that she had no room in her life for racism, homophobia and sexism. She is non-judgmental. She thinks about other people’s point of view and cares deeply about her friends. I believe she is a good friend. As a daughter she has taught me that I am not always as open minded as I think I am. She constantly checks me when I am being a little old and judgmental. Like many other young people Raven has battled with issues like self-harm, panic attacks, and low self-esteem. She has found her way though it by working hard with C.A.H.M.S and attending  counseling meetings. She has learned how to look at herself and care for herself and at the same time gained a deeper insight and empathy for others. I am so proud of her because she alone could make the decision whether to have surgery for scoliosis on her back. She made the decision at 14 had the surgery at 16 and recovered well. I am proud of Raven and in awe of her when I think of the way that she has dealt with tragedy,especially visiting her father in hospital, two years ago today. She saw him just before he died from cirrhosis of the liver. I love how she keeps a tin in her room that still smells of his stale tobacco and how she kept the £10.00 cheque that he sent her once for her birthday. She didn't cash it because she knew he wouldn’t have the money. I love her long legs because that remind me of her very tall father. I am so thankful for our child. I love her beautiful hands and her long fingers. The fingers that we call guitar players fingers, even though she never learned to play a guitar. I love it when she reads me her stories and poems and reads me parts of the books she is reading. I love when we watch a drama on TV together and drink tea . I am so proud of the way Raven and her friends joined together recently to support each other and try to cope with the tragic death of a much loved  friend. I am proud of what she has done so far in the world and who she has become. I hope she always manages to keep her beautiful open mind and her big kind heart.  Today was A.S and A level results day and yes I am proud that Raven did well. But my daughter and all  of our children are so much more than their school results.

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Five Days On The Childrens Ward

There is a fold down parent bed beside each child's bed in Ward G3 in Southampton Hospital. Ward G3 Children's Orthopedics in Southampton is where I spent five days last week. My daughter Raven had elective surgery on her back. Raven had Idiopathic Scoliosis, which basically means a curved spine. She had a five hour operation that with the help of metal rods straightened her spine. For me it was nine days without work. Nine days not cooking for anyone. Sitting beside my daughter's bed I had plenty of time for reflection.It was sixteen years one month and twenty seven days since Raven was a brand new baby. She was born in Poole hospital. I remembered the overwhelming  feeling of love I had for this small person I had just met. Now here we were again in a hospital. Raven so much longer and taller and what adventures we have already had together. Sitting beside her it seemed as if  only moments had passed since she was born. Nothing has changed except that I love her more and feel just as vulnerable and powerless when I cant stop things from hurting her. I learned that Doctors are absolutely amazing, and clever, and brilliant, and almost magical in the things that they can do, but Nurses have something else indeed. Something incredibly special, the kindness, compassion, warmth, and empathy that was shown to my daughter amazed me. Lou, Hattie, Rachel, and Nicki are just a few of the nurses that work for the NHS in ward G3  in Southampton. For five days they were Raven's nurses. They are people we will remember for a long time. The doctors fixed Ravens back, but it was these amazing nurses that were there to administer pain- relief and medication.They observed, comforted, re-assured, and ultimately start the journey of healing my daughter. I learned that we are all stronger than we know.Sleeping on a pull out bed on a floor in the dark listening to machines beep, in a ward full of children that are ill and in pain, makes you count your blessings, over and over and over again. Especially when you know your own child will be well soon. I was reminded of how important my daughters tribe or peers were to us. One by one they arrived by train and bus to come and sit by her side. When they were there she laughed so much more and seemed more herself. I also appreciated the hugs and the kindness they gave me as I picked them up from reception. I was reminded of how lovely it is to have my daughter crying about normal things. On Friday morning she started  crying about not being able to see her boyfriend until Monday. It was only a  few nights before she had been waking at night crying in pain and  I had been  powerless to do anything but hold her hand. I learned how important morphine is and what a difference it makes to pain relief. It made my heart break to think of the children in Syria and other countries without access to pain relief and kindness. It is  now ten days after the Operation, we have just been to see the nurse at our local G.P surgery. Raven  had her dressing and sterile-strips removed the wound is healing well. My daughter was able to walk the 15 minute walk to the doctors and back. What a miracle modern medicine is and  how lucky we are to have assess to it. Thank you Thank you  Southampton General Hospital  and  Thank you N.H.S.  

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#My 99p Summer Challenge

This summer it feels like I have been feeding the five hundred,Raven my fifteen year old has been home for eight weeks along with a menagerie of her friend's It's been quite shocking how fast a few teenagers can empty a fridge. Luckily I was sent £10.00 in vouchers to spend in the 99p shop and a challenge to spend it creatively and blog about it. On my first trip I bought a pack of O2 cookies, twenty mini flower pots and a tin of coconut milk. I started by making the Oreo  cookie soil a rather naughty treat.   All you have to do is split the cookies apart with a knife, scrape out the centre and then blend the cookies in a food processor. If you don't have a food processor, you can put them in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin. I blended the coconut milk with banana's. Since it was an experiment I added a tsp of vanilla and some frozen blueberries to half the mix. To  the other half I added rosewater and blueberries. I put them in the freezer for a couple of hours and then carefully removed them from the pot,then I rolled half of them in the O2 soil and left the other half plain. I wanted some of them to be a healthier option. A couple of hours later they were perfect !   1 pack of Oreo  cookies makes a big jar of soil it's also perfect on French Toast, Pancakes,or in Smoothies   On my second visit to the 99p shop I bought some nut-city chocolate spread. A loaf of white bread,A pack of grow your own beets with mini-propagator, a blue enamel-camping bowl, a pack of Alpen breakfast bars a tin of chestnuts and some Opi nail polish. Plenty more 99p adventures to come

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