I am Some Old Friends, Some New Mum

It’s International Friendship Day.
 
Many of us have probably found over the years, that our friends change. The friends we had at school, who we could NEVER imagine our lives without, change.
 
The friendships we form at Uni or work, tend to last a bit longer.
 
The hardest thing to learn about friendship is that no matter what age you are, friendships can and do change. And sometimes, they can and do end.
 
And there is no age limit on this.
 
Life gets busy.
Life gets stressful.
Priorities change.
 
Children coming along can be the biggest factor in the beginning of the end of some friendships.
 
And in the same sense, it can be the beginning of new friendships and relationships.
 
Last week I went on a blind date.
Yup. You read right.
 
I put on my heels and some muckup and I got my Him to drop me to the pub. And I hadn’t a clue who was going to turn up.
 
See the Mums in Mini-Me’s class have a wattsapp group and I had jokingly suggested a Mammy camp during a conversation about the camps the kids were all going to over the summer. We chose a random date and by the time it came around, only 1 or 2 could still make it.
 
“Shall we cancel?”
Tempting… but I was getting a Friday night out and I was going come hell or high water, even if it meant sitting on my own for a few hours.
 
Thankfully, two other Mums arrived, equally as anxious and unnerved at this new experience. We introduced ourselves, ordered drinks and sat for 4 hours chatting and sharing and drinking and laughing.
 
I highly recommend it. There’s something liberating about spending time with new people, with no motive and no expectations, other than to be nice and have company for an evening.
 
I’m looking forward to the next one where hopefully a few more of the Mums can come too. And there is always room for new friends. You never know who is out there waiting to be a fablis part of your life…
 
But aside from this, I have to admit that I have a wonderful Mamma Tribe.
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I have my Knickers; my fellow supper of Sea-wind, sharer of everything, Big sister and secret-keeper of all. We’ve been through more than any pair of friends I know, and we’re not done yet.
 
I have my LQ; my longest friend all the way from Uni, with whom I click right into place even when we’ve gone months without seeing each other. (She’s moving home from the UK tomorrow. Our children will grow up together and we shall grow wrinkly together!)
 
I have my Rainbow; My partner in many crimes who keeps me sane and grounded and yet agrees to fly with me everytime a crazy notion takes me soaring. She’s the Wendy to my Tinkerbell, holding my hand through the clouds and the stars. (And she loves gin as much as I do…)
 
I have my Lady V; who makes me smile and understands everything. So kind, so beautiful, so stylish and so funny. No masks or facades required around this Dolly.
 
And then there is my Jo: my beautiful gal whose optimism and kindness is like no one I’ve ever known. A bold rascal but always a lady, there’s so much more to this little lioness than meets the eye.
 
I’m lucky. Of course I am.
 
And even through the changes that having kids and husbands and dogs and, you know, life bring, I always know that one of these crazy bitches will be on the other end of the phone. And right on my doorstep if I need them.
 
Of course I’ve lost friends. I’ve had friends from whom I’ve drifted. I’ve had friendships which I’ve ended. I’ve had friends cut me out.
 
And while each of these makes me sad sometimes, there are a few that in hindsight, were not as fablis as I once thought. Some were draining. Some were exhausting. Some were unhealthy. Some were nothing short of septic, but hindsight is 20;20 isn’t it?
 
And I’m sure that while I am certainly better off without them, they are probably better off without me too. I’m far from perfect. Who is?
 
So today, on ANOTHER International Day of… send your Buddies a message, or tag them below, or pour a cuppa/glass and dial.
 
Because friends are the family we chose for ourselves aren’t they? And if tomorrow is “International Day of the Crazy Wine drinking cackling sarcastic Wagon-full-of-hugs”, will you be tagging the same gals? Because that’s how you know true pals.

I am Seeing Her Heart Break Mum

Our holiday was a week of firsts for us all; first time abroad with the girls, first rollercoasters, first time tasting different foods for the girls, first time jumping in water; lots of firsts and lots of memories…
 
But one first that has been tapping at my heart since it happened, was Mini-Me’s first breakup.
 
She met a little girl on the second day. Matilda let’s call her. As little girls do, they went from strangers to BFFs in 3.4 seconds. They spent a full morning playing together, splashing, jumping, laughing and generally having the time of their little lives.
 
And I sat on my lounger, watching them happily. Happy that she’d made a friend. Happy that she has the social skills to make friends. (Never underestimate this Mammies. And that’s the Teacher talking…) Happy that she’d found a wee buddy to play with…
 
And then.
Then, Matilda’s mammy struck.
 
And let me tell you, she was no Miss Honey.
 
“Matiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiildaaaaaaa, get ouvaa hea Noiw!” she screeched at the child.
 
“I’m going for lunch. See you later” said Matilda as she swam off.
 
And Mini-Me came bouncing over to tell us all about her new Best Fwend.
 
We too went for lunch. And a few hours later, back in the pool, Matilda swam by us. Mini-Me of course went ballistic with joy.
But Matilda ignored her.
 
“Go say Hello” I said and stepped back, knowing already what was going to happen, but knowing it had to happen anyway.
 
“Do you want to play?” asks Mini-Me.
“My Mum says I’m not allowed to play with you. Sorry!” answers Matilda, genuinely looking a bit sad, before she swam off again.
 
And there Mammies, is where my baby girl’s wee world shattered down around her.
She turned around, in the middle of the busy blue swimming pool, her big goggled eyes found mine, and she burst into tears…
I swooped her up and brought her to Daddy.
 
He of course thought she’d bust her head off something, she was wailing so hard. “She”s just had her wee heart broken” I whispered to him as I placed her on top of him for Daddy cuddles. Then I did what any calm and rational mother would do…
 
I got my inner Trunchbull on and went searching for Matilda’s Mammy to have it out with her…
Well that’s what I WOULD have done, had the sensible Him not given me the “Sit you down and calm yourself woman” look.
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After 15 minutes wrapped in Daddy’s big strong arms, and an icecream, and lots of conversation about how not everyone will want to be your friend and if someone doesn’t want to play with you, that’s their problem, not yours, Mini-Me was fine. She eventually went back to play, shoulders a bit slouched and heart a bit sore, but within 20 minutes, she had met another BFF.
(Having spoken to THIS BFF’s Mum earlier, I knew that this was their last day, so of course we were destined to another heartbreak that night, but hey!)
 
Heartbreak and rejection will come. And they don’t really get any easier to deal with, they just become less of a big deal. But when you’re 6, the smallest things are the biggest.
 
I’m not really sure whose heart was most broken though if I’m honest? Mini-Me’s for an hour, or Mine? Because thinking about her wee face still makes my tummy flip…and makes me want to swing that other Mammy by her pigtails.
 
Poor wee Matilda spent the rest of the week playing on her own. I shit you not Mammies. My heart was more sore for her by the end of the week than it had been for my own wee Dolly.

I am Some Mum Power Mum

Letterkenny Musical Society will present the outrageous “Nine to Five” to the boards of An Grianán Theatre next week.  This is the first production of the hit musical in the North West.

This wonderful, heartwarming and funny tale of three amazing women is being brought to us by a cast of equally brilliant local women.

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Three secretaries turn the tables on their boss in an office driven by chauvinism.  The film starred Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. Over 20 years later, it was adapted for the musical stage, with Dolly writing a number of new songs, combining country with rock and roll, along with some big band swing and beautiful ballads.

For lovers of the film, the story will be familiar. Indeed, large sections of dialogue are unchanged.

Nicola Shields plays Violet, Rachel Akkoç plays Judy, and Ciara Gallagher takes on the challenge of channelling Dolly as she brings Doralee to the stage.

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Rachel, Ciara and Nicola in rehearsals

Maria Rushe plays Roz, Laura Harvey plays Hart’s wife Missy, while Mariosa Bryce, Andrea Logue and Lorraine Porter are Kathy, Maria and Margaret.

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DW spoke to 5 of the ladies involved in the production on and off the stage; the 3 leading ladies, the Co-Director and the Choreographer.

 

Nicola Shields plays Violet.

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Nicola excels as Violet

Nicola is wife to Johnny & Mum to 2 beautiful furbabies, Belle & Seve.  She teaches Modern languages at Mulroy College, Milford. Nicola has been a member of LMS since 1999 & has been involved in every production since then, playing various leading roles over the years.
Nicola said, “I’m very excited to be part of 9 to 5 & very much looking forward to bringing Violet to life next week . Great to be involved in a show that offers 3 leading roles to ladies over 40 !!”

 

 

 

Ciara Gallagher plays Doralee

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Ciara has morphed into Doralee. She even has the giggle perfected!

Ciara is a primary teacher in Carrigart. She is married to James and is a mother of four.  She has made the role of Doralee her own and is loving playing the infamous character played by Dolly Parton herself in the movie version.   

Ciara said “Doralee is a wonderful character; she is sassy and feisty, funny and vulnerable. I feel very lucky to play such a strong female role, and luckier still to be involved in a show that highlights women’s issues in such a positive and uplifting way, with super-talented fellow cast members. This really is a show not to be missed!”

 

 

 

Rachel Akkoç plays Judy.

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Rachel is beautiful as vulnerable Judy

Rachel hails from Dublin, but considers herself to be ‘adopted Donegal’, having moved to Letterkenny in the early 90s. She has two sons, Ziya and Zana, with her Turkish husband, Ejder. Rachel works in the public service by day, but her real love is performing. The stage has been her spiritual home for all of her 45 years. She is a trained dancer, an accomplished vocalist and has taken on countless diverse acting roles over the years. 
‘The role of Judy in 9 to 5 is one that I’m relishing. She starts out downtrodden, but having returned to the workforce, and with the help of her feisty co-workers, she gradually regains her mojo and becomes a strong, empowered and self-assured woman. I love portraying that metamorphosis.’

 

 

 

Roz

Maria Rushe is hilarious as Roz

Maria Rushe plays Roz.

Donegal Woman columnist Maria is married to Emmet and they have two little Drama Queens who inspire her blog, The S-Mum.  She teaches English & Drama in Coláiste Ailigh and has been a member of the LMS since 2004.  Having choreographed past shows, she now directs the show alongside Donal Kavanagh.  Maria loves the stage and has played many roles with LMS.

Maria said “Playing Roz is so much fun. She is clumsy and awkward and misses the point in so many ways. She loves Hart desperately, but has a very different journey to the other ladies. Roz is an intricate character who the audience will hopefully love, hate and sympathise with in equal measure.  And any show where I get to sing, dance and make people laugh is a joy for me. This show is my favourite yet.”

 

Rebecca Thompson is the Choreographer.

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The Lady who keeps them on their toes, Rebecca is choreographer.

Rebecca Thompson is 36 years old, married to Ian and she is mummy to six boys, James, Charlie, Harry, Freddie, Max and Bobby. She left her post as a secondary school teacher to open Encore Performing Arts Academy. This is her third year involved with LMS as choreographer.

“I love working with and bringing Musical Theatre movement to adults who may have no previous experience of dance. I find it really rewarding and humbling watching everyone put in the effort in making my vision and ideas come alive on stage,” says Rebecca.

 

Obviously, we have powerful men in and behind the show also.  Our leading man Franklyn Hart Jnr is played by Donegal’s finest performers, Giles Murray.

Kieran Connor plays Joe, the junior accountant who’s in love with Violet; Joe Harley plays Doralee’s husband Dwayne; while Anthony McGarrigle plays Dick, Judy’s ex-husband.  The leading men deliver stellar performances along side the women.

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Our male chorus. Director Donal Kavanagh back centre, Producer Noel O’Donnell Back left.

The show is produced by Noel O’Donnell and directed by Donal Kavanagh and Maria Rushe.

Musial direction comes from the ubertalented Mark Bradley.

The show runs at  An Grianán Theatre in Letterkenny from Tuesday, February 27, to Saturday March 3.

Show time is 8pm and tickets cost €18 and €20.

For booking, go to www.angrianan.com or ring 0784 91 20777.

 

 

 

I am Speed-Clean Queen Mum

Good evening, on this, the 83rd of January, 2018.
 
It is Sunday night once again. Mammy has a list of things she needs to do, but after running around the house for the past 90 minutes finding schoolbags, and lunchboxes and searching for the magical tie and parts of the uniform that get blown to the 4 corners of the earth on a Friday evening, Mammy is fit for NOTHING except parking her posterier on the sofa.
 
Mammy had some lovely friends over for an impromptu dinner last night. Mammy spent 45 minutes speed cleaning the rooms in which her lovely friends would be. It is amazing just how much Mammy can get done when faced with the thought of lovely friends coming to visit. (Not that lovely friends give a continental shite what state Mammy’s Layer of Love is in, but still.) And so Mammy managed to blitz the kitchen, tidy, move, clean bathrooms, mop floors and clean glass, all so that she could apologize for the “state of the place” when the lovely friends arrived.
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How ridonculous eh?
 
“Good evening Lovely Friends, please doooooo come in and look at how homely and coziful Mammy’s practically perfect in every way home is on this fine evening. I must apologize for the layer of love. Please do not judge Mammy for the mess of her candlelt kitchen… Woulds’t one likest some cucumber in one’s gin?
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Ready for catch ups

 
And of course the response from one of the lovely friends was “Yeah yeah. The place looks great. Shut up and start pouring.”
 
The evening was lovely until Princess decided to have her firt EVER nightmare just before 1am. The poor little cretur screamed so loudly that one of Lovely Friends almost spilled her cucumbery gin over herself. And so Mammy had to bid her lovely friends Adieu and take the High-temperatured, sweaty little shaking mess away from the “Bug Bear under me bed” and into our bed.
On the up side, The Him was happily left entertaining lovely friends AND HE did all the cleaning up of Mammy’s showhouse worthy kitchen before he went to bed. And so the remnants of the Heavenly Indian takeaway we had, were gone when I got up.
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Could lick the screen…

 
Fear not however my Mammies. The house is once again a mess and all pretentious notions have left Mammy. Mammy is back in reality, smiling at how quickly Mini-Me and Princess recreated their Layer of Love and glad to have such Lovely friends to speed-clean-for-them-to-not-notice anyway.
I am now ready for bed, hoping and praying that there is no bear or monster under Princess’s bed tonight.
Hope you had a lovely weekend and that you are ready for the last 38 days of January.
The S-Mum

I am Some Things that Make me Smile Mum

What makes you smile Mammy?

“My children’s arms around my neck… spending time with my family… seeing my childrens’s faces when… hearing my children’s voices…cuddles with my babies…”

Yadda yadda yeah.

Of course these things make you happy.  And so they should. Being Mammy is the most rewarding and smile inducing thing in the world.

But Back up Bitcheepoos.  I asked what makes YOU happy.  What things, (not including your precious little cherubs and their hillarious/cute/wonderful milestones), make Mammy smile.   I want the OTHER answers, the things OTHER than your kids that make you smile, because it’s important to remember the things that make Mammy smile, other than being Mammy.

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Apart from these two, obviously.

Here are some of mine:

Food:  Food is possibly my favourite thing in the world. Nothing gives me the same joy as good food. The smells.  The textures. The flavours… I have been known to make questionable noises while eating certain things.  Add a smooth warm wine to a Prawn Balti and I may just love you forever. Eating is not just functional.  It’s sensual. God dammit, sometimes food is just sexy. End of.   I’m salivating now just thinking about it… To Hell with diamonds…The way to this woman’s heart is through my belly.  Just feeeeeeed me.  I’m like a puppy.  I’m not beyond being bribed to do tricks…

When someone else thinks of me:  When Himself leaves my cup and pod ready in the coffee machine before I get up.  When my friend hands me a pair of ridiculous slippers just because she thought of me when she saw them. When someone calls me, not looking for something, just to say hi. When someone texts me out of the blue.

Chatting:  With two chatterboxes for daughters, I don’t get a word in edgeways.  If I get the rare chance to meet my mate, my Him or my Mum for a cuppa without my little people, Oh but it does make me smile.  Uninterrupted, uncensored conversation with our favourite grown up people is soooooooo good for us, isn’t it?

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Hugs:  Apart from my Him and the Hers, there are some people whose hugs make me especially happy.  My Daddy is the bestest Hugger in the world.  End of story. No one will ever win an argument with me about that.  I love hugs from my siblings, especially the two who flew over the Irish Sea to make their nests. It doesn’t matter how long has passed between hugs, they’re stronger than ever each time.

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Hugs makes the sun shine

Being alone:  The true joys of being alone can never be understood until you are a parent.  When I get it, I take it.  And I’m talking ANYWHERE!  The bathroom. The shower. The car journey between drop off and work.  Sometimes, I run awful errands just to get 25 minutes alone! Even putting the bin up to the road is a chance to stop and breath and be alone for a minute. Grabbing a coffee alone is a luxury. I get up most mornings before 6am, just to have an hour to myself.  And who needs a holiday when you have the Supermarket to mosey through all by yourself?

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How I feel on aisle 3

The Beach:  The beach near my home is my absolute favourite place.  It’s my thinking place. Yes I love to walk here with the girls, but add this one to Number 5 and you’ll see a content and happy S-Mum.  If I stand on that shore long enough, all the world realigns and everything is better. It’s cleansing. It blasts away my stresses. And I’m discovering as I get older, that the worse the weather is, the better the blast.

People watching:  This one makes me smile just thinking about it.  I LOVE to people-watch.  I love to pretend and make up what is happening with them.  I write them into characters and scenarios in my head, and sometimes in my book.  (If you have ever passed me, especially if I’m alone, there’s a chance you’ve inspired something. That counts as a disclaimer right?)

Exercise:  This one might not be everyone’s list, but it’s definitely something that makes me smile.  It also makes me swear, grunt and cry, but so does food! There is a fine line between pleasure and pain isn’t there!?

Food: I know I’ve said food already, but seriously, I don’t think I have enough words to make anyone understand the utter joy that it brings me. 🙂

Smells: Stop and smell the roses, or the cut grass, or the baking bread.  Breathe in your Granny’s perfume, your baby’s head, the chocolate cake.  ALWAYS take a second to smell your wine. Or your coffee.  Or the washing powder.  Or the smell in your parent’s hall when you visit.  Smells are memories.  Memories make me smile.

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Breathe it in…

I could go on.  And even as I write this and think about these things, I realise that they are largely easy to do, find and that they are mostly free.   And so it makes me wonder, why I don’t do them more often.  Of course, time is an issue. Being a busy Mammy with a job and 20,000 other things going on will always make time an issue, but at the same time, none of these things are outrageous or elusive really.

And so maybe it’s time to make time to do them.  

So now, I ask you again.  What makes YOU smile? (apart from your Darlings).

Write down a few of them and stick the list on your fridge or in your diary.  Then, try to tick one or two of them off that list at least once a week.

 

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