Sunday, 27 April 2014

Negotiating Sundays for a Bored Teen

Boredom must be an undiscovered synonym of teenhood. How does it come to pass that a child who was extremely resourceful at finding things to do (examine cracks in pavements, stare at a slug on the pathway for ages) has suddenly jettisoned everyday experiences for ...well nothing. 'I am bored' has become an interchangeable phrase in my home with 'I am hungry' or 'What's happening today?' It slips out as easily as that from her mouth. I suggested that she invite a friend over and heaved a sigh of relief when the friend turned up. It didn't take long though for one bored person to become two bored people. The power of the multiplication of teenage experience never ceases to amaze me. I suggested a few things but in the end they were happy to settle for pizza at home, eaten while watching a movie on TV. Bearing in mind that these solutions were at hand already I do wonder why a rigmarole has to be endured with teens before peace reigns. 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Meet a Mum Who Contracted Mesothelioma (Asbestos Exposure)

Heather Von St James is a mother living in America who survived exposure to asbestos to tell the tale. She is now busily raising awareness of the deadly illness and wants people to look out for the danger signs of the symptoms. Mesothelioma is the name of the cancer that develops as a result of inhaling asbestos. Most commonly, sufferers of mesothelioma would have been employees working in industrial situations where asbestos was used. However, there is a secondary fall out too. Women who washed the clothes of their husbands who had been working in environments where there was asbestos have contracted Mesothelioma too. 

Heather's story is below: 
'I’m reaching out to you today in hopes that you will help me with a cause that is very near and dear to my heart. At age 36, I was diagnosed with mesothelioma just 3 ½ months after my first and only child, Lily, was born. I was given just 15 months to live unless I underwent a drastic surgery to remove my left lung. Miraculously, I beat the odds and I’m still here eight years later. I was exposed to asbestos through my father's work jacket when I was just a little girl; my diagnosis came about 30 years later. Once diagnosed, most patients die within 2 years. I am one of few survivors who openly share their story and work to spread awareness regarding the dangers of asbestos.'

Asbestos was banned in the UK on August 24 1999. However, the United States is one of the very few major industrialized nations that has not banned asbestos entirely in all of its forms. It continues to be used in gaskets, friction products, roofing materials, fireproofing materials - in fact, into hundreds of consumer products that are used every day. This is why Heather is desperately trying to do something about it. She needs our support so please visit her website.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Behind the Pink Tint of Mother's Day

I had a good Mother's Day. So did many of you, I suspect. However, I was given two insights into how Mother's Day can be an unpleasant experience for some mothers. The pink tint of Mother's Day with bouquets of flowers, pink iced cakes (or any other colour for that matter) and glossy TV adverts does not stretch into all households. Much like Christmas which brings all sorts of existential stress, I think Mother's Day is the one day when mothers feel strongly that their identity or existence as mothers is either justified or not. While it is easy to construct Mother's Day as being a commercially invented one there is no getting away from the fact that it is a day that still counts.

A friend arrived on my doorstep just before lunch on Mother's Day. Her teenage son had not wished her and was out with his friends. She was feeling lost. I invited her to join us for lunch. Having her around made both of us happy, in fact, though it did not make up for the fact that her teenager was not with her.

At 7.40pm my phone rang. A friend's name flashed up. I answered in a cheery tone expecting a conversation about how her day had gone etc. It was a 'pocket dial' call. It took me a few seconds to realise that that was what it was because of the shouting in the background. She was screaming at her daughter and husband for forgetting about her and giving her a card quite late in the day. 'This is what you think of me', she said, 'after all that I do'. Her daughter screamed at her to shut up. My friend carried on with her anguished monologue. I hung up because I felt like I was intruding on a personal family situation. She has not rung me since (intentionally or unintentionally) and I know that she would be too embarrassed to talk about it.

Not A Happy Mother's Day FOR ALL.