I am joining in with the Britmums Prompt this week where we are asked to tell you about the best day with our family.

When I became a mum, it felt like a lovely two had become a wonderful three. My son was a bonus, adding to an already fun and lively couple. Yes folks, once upon a time I was fun and lively. We had great days out at the seaside, in the countryside, at car boot sales, at airshows and even figured out ways of my son accompanying us on trips with work. They were really happy times.

When you become a mum to two, things get more complex and especially if that monster known as post-natal depression enters your world. I was delighted when my daughter was born but I soon found myself really struggling with the demands of both children especially when a family conflict resulted in my parents not contacting me for months on end.

I was shocked when I became pregnant again with number 3. I don’t know why as by now I had worked out what causes babies. I decided that I would enjoy the pregnancy and just hope for the best I would cope when my second son came along.

My third child was born a day early. I remember them doing all sorts to induce proper labour as things just did not progress. Eventually, it was a case of an emergency Casarean. Does that make a difference I wonder? Anyway, the hugest baby ever seen in the hospital was delivered and I just remember the midwife rubbing his face against mine. All I wanted to do was sleep after a traumatic night. We took him home and we had a near miss car crash on the way home. More stress. Then he started screeching and we had the horrors of colic for months. Through all this, I was very clear that although I knew I was responsible for this baby, I had no feelings for him at all.

One day, we were out in the car on a day out. I suddenly looked at my son and saw he was ill. He was funny colour and his eyes were sort of lolling around. We rushed him to hospital. I was so scared that I sent my husband in to get the diagnosis and sat in the car with the other children. I know that sounds awful.

When my husband brought him back to the car, the news was good. It was just tonsilitis. At that point, all the love flowed from me and we have never looked back. In fact, we are so very close and he gets away with more than the other two my husband says. I always say that he had to do without my love for months so it will be there in heaps now. He is my cheeky chappy, my comic genius, my born performer and my healer. He is essential to this family.

So this may seem a strange post considering the prompt. What I want to say is that it is this day when my family became complete, the day I started to love all my children for the first time.

The Gallery theme this week is Home.

I have lived in many places. By the age of one, I had lived in four places including a convent. Perhaps there is traveller in my soul as at last count, I have resided in 34 homes including on the road in a camper van one mad Summer.

So for me, I am clear that a place does not make a home. If you don’t want to enter a deeply nauseous state, I suggest you read no further.

One day, I was in the car chattering away when Him Indoors told me to shut up. I started telling him not to speak to me like that when he said. “No, I mean, listen to this song because it expresses exactly how I feel about you”. It was Billy Joel and here are the lyrics that so impressed my Other Half.

Billy Joel Home

When you look into my eyes
and you see the crazy gypsy in my soul
it always comes as a surprise
when i feel my withered roots begin to grow

well i never had a place
that I could call my very own
but that’s all right my love
cuz you’re my home.

when you touch my weary head
and you tell me everything will be all right
You say use my body for your bed
and my love will keep you warm throughout the night

well i’ll never be a stranger
and i’ll never be alone
wherever we’re together
that’s my home.

Home could be the Pennsylvania turnpike
Indiana’s early morning dew
high up in the hills of California
home is just another word for you

Well I never had a place that i could call my very own
but that’s all right my love cuz you’re my home

If i travel all my life
and i never get stop and settle down
long as i have you by my side
there’s a roof above and good walls all around
you’re my castle, you’re my cabin
and my instant pleasure dome
i need you in my house
cuz you’re my home,..
you’re my home.

Him Indoors is not very good at expressing his feelings but he said that this song just about sums up our relationship for him. As for me being shallow, I particularly liked the idea of being an instant pleasure dome.

As I thought about it, I remembered Mum and Dad used to play this song a lot and it actually has pretty much the same meaning to the Billy Joel one.

You placed gold on my finger
You brought love like I’ve never known
You gave life to our children
And to me a reason to go on.

You’re my bread when I’m hungry
You’re my shelter from troubled winds
You’re my anchor in life’s ocean
But most of all you’re my best friend.

When I need hope and inspiration
You’re always strong when I’m tired and weak
I could search This whole world over
You’ll still be everything that I need.

You’re my bread when I’m hungry
You’re my shelter from troubled winds
You’re my anchor in life’s ocean
But most of all you’re my best friend.

You’re my bread when I’m hungry
You’re my shelter from troubled winds
You’re my anchor in life’s ocean
But most of all you’re my best friend…

Him Indoors likes to sit in “his” chair.

When my Mum died, I spoke to Dad and said one of the worst bits was turning to the phone to ring her and then realising there was no point. He said to me “Imagine how often I turn to “her” chair to tell her something and it is empty”.

What am I saying? That despite being possibly the least romantic couple in the world that Him Indoors remains in his chair perceiving me to be his “home” for a long time yet.

Home is wherever Him Indoors lays his hat for me too. Shhhh! Don’t tell him.

With love from the Striking Mum x

Here is the weekly round-up of cheerful things posted as part of the wonderful Reasons to be Cheerful blog hop that is guaranteed to help you make blogger mates and smile on the most challenging of weeks.

So let me show you how to be cheerful.

1. All three little darlings have gone back to school. They all seem to be settling in fine although my youngest protests every morning about having to go but that’s just him really. Battle first, winning smiles later. My daughter has moved to Junior School and is loving every minute of it having worried about going for the last year. She is flapping a lot which is always a good sign with her, little bird wings going up and down all the time with excitement. My oldest son is doing fine too, a bit of a teenager in training but happy on the whole. From my point of view, one lovely surpise is that the council now send a minibus to my front door to take my children to school. Shhhh, don’t tell Mr Cameron!

2. I have had contact via email with all 3 of my adult step-daughters this week. Four strong-willed women have not always found it easy to get on so I celebrate the new level of understanding and forgiveness of past crimes that exists these days. One I bond with on the grounds of both having 3 children so knowing how challenging that can be. One is a kindred spirit. The other gave the wonderful news that she is engaged to her girlfriend. For a girl/woman who struggled to love and be loved (and for very good reasons), I am over the mooon that she has found happiness and where she fits best.

3. With the children back at school, I am staring a New Year, New Me regime on many fronts. I have made a less than perfect start but still a start. Small steps and all that. Will be holding myself accountable for positive moves on the health department via the Mumentum blog hop.

4. I am going out with my Dad today for fish and chips. Sometimes, spending time where he enjoys has to be put above losing weight for me. It will be great to return to an old routine after many weeks where he has had to go on his own or not at all.

5. My beautiful ginger cat is recovering after coming off worst in a cat fight. Thank you to our wonderful vet.

6. My husband went away with work and I did not throw my usual fishwife mood about it. I get the most illogical insecurity sometimes and am a bit of a madam to say the least. Good to behave reasonably this time and to feel relaxed about it all. Maybe recent events with my brother have made me wake up to what and who is really important in life.

Big apologies for my cock-up on my old blog with #R2BC. Was gutted to mess it up but actually not really my fault hence my change to a WordPress blog.

Massive thanks to all those women who have come to see me here and left such lovely comments.

That’s me but there is whole lot more cheerfulness going on in the blogosphere. Check it out at http://bod-for-tea.blogspot.com/2011/09/reasons-to-be-cheerful_08.html

Love from the Striking Mum x

Amazingly, not everyone blogs!

So for those who don’t and matter, here is a Christmas hello.

To the long-suffering Him Indoors.  We have not had the easiest of years which means I have ranted quite a lot, being quite illogical on many occasions and given you a hard time when others were doing the same.  We have also laughed and loved a lot as we do.  I do appreciate you travelling thousands of miles to try and find work.  I admire you for seeing the GP.    Remember that Mum said there was a Jack for every Jill and God made kippers and he paired them.  I rest my case.  Have a lovely Christmas and we will overcome in the New Year.

To my oldest son.  I know the year started badly for you.  I worried so much that you would not come back you felt when your Granddad passed away.  It was a shock to me to see you struggling and acting up at school.  Our highlight has to be our trip to America.  I don’t think you believed you were really going until you saw your passport arrive.    I remember how you said you would let your brother or sister take your place.  That takes some doing when Disneyland and the other theme parks are on offer.  We did America together and overcame a lot of fears.  I think this experience strengthened both of us.  It was lovely to have one-on-one time with you.  America somehow put you back together again and you returned to excel again at school.  You remain my sweet and sensitive soul with the odd teenage strop thrown in for good measure which is as it should be as you cut the apron strings.  By the way Santa does exist and don’t you forget it!  Christmas magic made you seize mistletoe and kiss me right in the high street – how blessed am I to have a teenage son who does that?!

To my beautiful daughter with a style all of her own.  This was the year where you faced your fears on your first trip away from home.  It terrified me seeing you walk away and I know you came back a very changed girl.  I am so proud how you tackled the challenges.  You are growing up but you still have that belief in magic so Christmas is a lovely time for you.  You are very much your grandma’s legacy with your feisty spirit and ability to make a party out of nothing.  You don’t believe in God so no doubt you have caused your grandma to spin quite a bit.  I got a shock this year when I saw you and a boy together.  You were only talking but flirting might fit better.    Seems you are growing up and the boys are starting to notice.  Just remember what I told you from birth my dear but I will always be here if you hit a crisis.

To my youngest son who remains my full on bright and comic character.  As you get older, your sweet side is coming out more and more.  You seem to understand things far beyond your years.  I guess the big highlight of the year for you was being filmed in promotional videos for two big companies.  You tacked it without nerves and did an amazing job.  I will never forget those days.  How I wish I had your innate self-belief.  Your morning cuddles keep me going every day.  I know you will be fine.  You are a survivor.

To my brother who has given amazing emotional and financial support in our current predicament.  It has kept us going.  Not many people dig into their own pockets to lend support and we really appreciate it.  Here’s to Boxing Day together.  Continuing Mum’s family tradition of a big spread the day after the Big Day.

To that woman in Dewsbury who remains one of the most inspirational people I have ever met.  One of those who does not quite feel how special she is.  Those around her know it.  Hope to meet again in 2014.  You are the very type of woman who should get an award but probably never will.

To someone who I felt I lost at 11 but is back in my life via Facebook.  I love seeing how your life turned out and the family you have built.

To the lady in France who I sense could have been a great friend if only we had given each other a chance back in the day.  We connect now and I value that.

To an amazing lady who does such good work every day and who offered to babysit my children when I went to be breast clinic.  We have not seen each other since school days and were not close then.  That offer was amazingly generous.  Thanks for your support and gentle guidance via Facebook.  We may get to meet again one day.

To the good guy in Australia who recently convinced me that it is always worth giving people a second chance even if they have hurt you.  You are a better soul than me and I have learned from you and taken action as a result.

To H who will know why.  Wishing you and that amazingly close-knit family of yours a very Happy Christmas.

To the Professor.  I am calling you that to impress my readers of course.  You are always there when it matters.  I value a friendship that seems to have developed long after we didn’t say goodbye to each other.  If we ever meet, I will of course run away but you matter and on occasion get me through the day.

To Paula, my old mate from college days.  I know I don’t write enough.  I will.  After all, you are the only nun friend I have and if a time was needed for prayers, this is probably it.  You took a course that I could not fully understand.  I miss our nights of chocolate digestives, Peak Practice and magazine quizzes.  You are happy.  That makes me content.

To Glenys who I worked with in my first full-time job.  I love how you don’t coax me or pussy-foot around me.  A lot do but those who are firm with me always do me so much good.  You are amazing in so many ways.  Carlisle seems like another life-time.

To H who has to face life as a young woman without her husband.  I hate the injustice of that.  I love how you acknowledge your bond so often in a public way.  I take my hat off to you for keeping going and giving that little girl a wonderful life.  You were so kind to me, one of the good guys and that makes what happened to you even more rotten.

To M who is having a hard time.  I don’t know the details.   I hope you know people care and that I am only ever an email or message away.  I knew you were special and talented very soon after we met.  Dig deep, seek support and overcome whatever poo-poo type stuff is in your life right now.

To C who I think could have been a very good friend had I stuck round a bit longer.  You say the right things at the right times.  You remind me I am OK and sometimes quite wonderful.   I remember you saying I was already a writer when I did not see that clearly. That is so generous of you and wish you and yours well.

To all the people I would love to have back in my life – A, C, R and J from college amongst others   You never know – life is strange with its twist and turns.

To old school-friends who I have accepted as Facebook friends with a degree of caution – we will see how that turns out.  Very pleased to have Sammy back in my world.

I will, almost inevitably, have forgotten someone who is amazing and very important.

It is good to remember how blessed I am with the people I know or have known.

To my half-siblings who I have never met.  The breast lump made me think we should really meet.  2014 could be that special year.

To my birth mum – you have made what looks like an amazing family.  Happy Christmas!

Special mention for Mum and Dad who made me Christmases so very special.  I miss you so much.  I do daft stuff like buying stuff that reminds me of something of the essence of you.  Little ornaments of sailors and a plastic tub with a blue lid and baking stuff.  Christmas will never be the same but you taught me the true meaning of it and to make special memories.  Wish you would tumble in with too many gifts and bags of sweets.  Wish Mum would order Dad back to the car boot to get yet more stuff.   Thanks Mum for ensuring I cooked for you on your very last Christmas and for telling me at that time that I must write.  It has been such a journey and it hurts that you did not live to see it.  Dad – I miss you every day.  I remember how much you loved Christmas particularly the eating bit and the sorting everything out bit.    You loved me, you believed in me and one day I will make you so proud.  That’s a Christmas promise with love from me to you.

Merry Christmas to all those I love or have loved.  You are all very special.