I knew this date was coming. I had a sense of excitement and trepidation for our first family trip.
As I’ve mentioned previously my Dad has Alzheimer’s, quite a severe kind that he was diagnosed with when he was 59. He has an amazing wife who cares for him and it’s been a while since I’ve seen him so it was a really important trip. The purpose of the visit was so he could meet his new Grandchildren for the first time.
It’s about three hours to Wolverhampton from here so I knew it would be an epic trip. Luckily the trip coincided with a family birthday party, which my sister and her tribe were planning to go to and this meant we could all share a house. I had already asked my Mum and Step Dad support and at the last minute my husband decided it was probably best he tag along too.
For those who have made trips out of London on a Friday you will know the roads are horrendous. Four hours it took for us to reach Luton which is about an hour away from London. That is crazy.
So our plans to see Dad on Friday we’re scuppered as we eventually got to our accomodation for 5pm just in time for some unpacking and then their 6pm bedtime. It was a long day. Even though the girls were amazing and slept most of the time I was asleep by half nine soundly. However Luna had other ideas.
Little did I know that at 12am she wanted a cheeky feed that the hubbie did whilst I snored away
And then at 1am she stirred which I think this was in part down to her crazy cousins getting excited about seeing her in the morning because I woke to the sound of ‘LUNA, LOLA’ and the thuds of little feet stomping about in the lower floor.
3:40am arrived to the sound of goos. Luna again. Wide eyed and wanting attention. I fed her and she in return kept me up until 5am.
6:30am and Daddy is up again and this time we know there’s no more sleeping as Lola stirs.
Luna began to get bery angry and upset. She’s been constipated for days and despite taking Movicol the day before hadn’t produced anything. In a comedy of errors we both said we should bring some with us but presumed the other did which was made apparent by the long list of baby items we also forgot to bring.
Anyway, I checked her bum and there was a poo stuck out of her bum. A call to 111 informs us we should get some help if it doesn’t dislodge itself. It did come out but there was more up there. We decided to give her a Prune juice/ water mix now that we’ve started introducing food but more on that in another post. It did take a while but it worked a treat after a couple of hard poo parts came out. The hubbie managed to carefully help her drop a massive log. A very stressful morning.
We had a long day ahead of us, firstly to see my Dad. I was really excited about them meeting him for the first time. I remember vividly when my sister’s first born visited him as a baby and how excited my Dad got. When he saw my sister’s twins, he was in awe. I was so excited about seeing his face light up. I guess because I thought by that reaction it was like he ‘knew’ who they were even though he struggled with the words to express it.
Of course this is now 5 and 2 years on from then and the reaction I got was very different. Nothing, most of the time. He was staring at the TV or into space, gone were the smiles now just a blank and sometimes aggravated face. It made me incredibly sad though I daren’t admit that aloud. Why? I wanted the occasion to be as happy as I could make it and not be selfish because I was annoyed that Dad wasn’t behaving how I wanted him to. We got our photos and they met Dad’s wife as well. It’s something I’ll always remember and something I’ll tell them about when they’re older.
Even though my Mum and Dad didn’t separate amicably at first, everyone has put it in the past and we were joined by my Mum and my Step Dad who helped us out with the girls. It gave me a chance to clean my Dad with his carer whilst they took the girls for a walk.
Later in the afternoon whilst we were preparing to go, the girls were getting tired wanting a nap. I find singing to them calms them down. Mum and I start singing our best, ‘Five Little Ducks’ and low and behold Dad turns to us and starts smiling. It was a lovely moment that I think will forever be ingrained into my memories. It would have been better if he has smiled at them but then again hes a man with severe Alzheimer’s and he doesn’t know them. He did however give me a few smiles and a little bit of babble conversation throughout the day so at least I’m of some comfort to him.
After the emotional morning it was time for a family function. A 50th Eighties fancy dress party. Feeling like a heffalump still I opted for a comfortable Care Bear outfit to hide my belly and to keep warm on a cold winters night. I was really excited about going out because it was first night out since the twins and even though I’ve given up alcohol I was determined to have a good time – which I did by the way. However I nearly didn’t end up going.
5:45pm, bottles are made, upstairs we go to settle them down, change clothes etc. 6pm we feed. 6:25pm Lola is fast sleep. Hubbie goes downstairs to make dinner. Eventually he comes back to 7:45pm to help me get Luna to sleep who has so far refused to. Several attempts to put her in the cot result in her resisting sleep and rolling around instead. It took my husband 10 minutes. It was like she knew I was going out.
It was strange to be out. I’ve mentioned already I’m not the best socializer. Maybe it was because I wasn’t drinking? My evenings have consisted of crunching in what I can between moments of the girls stirring. Or being so tired I go to bed early. It was really weird to not feel needed.
I found it incredibly difficult to relax despite having some nice conversations though hearing what people were saying was difficult and having a bit of a boogie. I’m used to watching a bit of TV, reading news or blogging so it felt strange to be somewhere bustling with people who were wearing lots of fabulous costumes, and very weird to out of the baby world loop hole (where time and reality seize to exist – black hole maybe?). I just couldn’t help but worry about how the girls were doing, given we were in a new place. Would they know I was gone?
I had forgotten what life was like without the babies. It was good for me to do it but I’m in no rush to do it again anytime soon. I did have a lovely time, it was a great atmosphere and so lovely to see my relatives however I didn’t feel totally at ease.
Maybe the event was wrong as in I wasn’t ready for a party when I’m not drinking? Maybe it was the location? I wasn’t somewhere familiar and lots of people I didn’t know. But it was important to do it as before pregnancy I had difficulty in knowing who I was. Pregnancy, I knew would eventually define me in a different way as a mother but I’m not just a Mother. And I must remember that. I must remember who I am or give myself the time to rediscover myself.
It must be said though as parties go it was brilliant. Fabulous food, amazing music, incredible costumes and brilliant company.
All in all it was a trip to remember not just because it was our first family trip but because everything I learnt and experienced from it.