Making Hay while the Sun Shines

When I am feeling low, I cannot plan ahead as I cannot see further than one day at a time. Something in the diary, even a fun thing, feels like pressure and of course, I do not look forward to things as they are all regarded negatively. But when I am well and upbeat, I am the opposite; I fill my diary up with exciting plans. No sooner does my husband say that he fancies seeing a band and I have bought the tickets. I accept every invitation and every poster or review I read, I want to go to see for myself, so my calendar is full to the brim with fun : on Sunday we are looking around a pretty village’s Open Gardens and taking our fill of their homemade baking. In a week’s time we are going to see our niece and nephew perform in a play in the matinee and I am going to a fancy dress retirement party in the evening. Then on the Sunday Joshua and I are going to see my sister dance in a village gala. The following weekend we are going to two concerts: one on Friday night without Joshua and another on Saturday, with him and involving an overnight stay! The week after that, Joshua and I are going to Scotland on a trip to visit my first best friend and her Mum and daughter- the train tickets are booked and that will be super exciting. When we are back that weekend, we are all off back to the dales for a Food Fair. Towards the end of the month, I am taking Joshua to the theatre to see ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ with my sister and on the last day of the month, we head off for a fortnight’s holiday on the south coast. Phew!

I think I know why I am so Jekyll & Hyde about my social life; it is right now, I do not know how long I will feel able to do these things, so I embrace every opportunity while I can. Nobody knows when my next bout of depression might hit – hopefully never ! – but when it does, I can expect to withdraw again and not to want to leave the house very much. So I am making hay while my sun shines, as when those dark clouds gather, all my energy and enthusiasm will desert me.

When Joshua was at school, I used to feel sick when July began; I was never sure how we would get through the long 6 week school holiday. It always seemed to sneak up on me and then suddenly it was school Sports Day and that meant that summer had arrived. I did not dread having Joshua at home for 6 weeks, as some of the parents I met did; in fact I was the opposite, I loved school holidays when Joshua could lie in and have leisurely days. But I always felt guilty about my childcare arrangements. We always went away for the first two weeks of August, so those weeks were full of fun. But I dreaded the other four weeks, when I would be at work while Joshua was off. Yorkshire Grandma would take him out for four days a week and they would have great fun together, out and about locally. I always felt that I was missing out and I would wish my week away, to get to my Friday off when I could play with my son. Work was never very busy during the Summer months either, so I might have been sitting at my desk wishing I was elsewhere , when I could have squeezed my work into fewer days in the office.

But now our lives have thankfully changed for the better : I am retired so I have all summer off to play and Joshua is at daycare, so he could go there all summer long if we were around; they only close on bank holidays, so there is no long summer break to plan for. So this will be the first summer of his life, since I was on maternity leave in 2001, when I will feel no guilt and we will be free to play together, and that is a great feeling. I know how much Joshua loves his time in daycare and so I regard that as him still having fun there and the fact that he only goes for three days a week means that we get to play together for most of the week. Now that I have rediscovered our local beach we will be down there more often, we have our growing puppy, Yogi, to play with, we have now furnished Joshua’s pod so we will be eating, playing and maybe even sleeping out there and we still need to find some time for nights away in our caravan!

So for the first time in 20 years I say, bring it on Summer…..

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