Everyone has been so kind. And I have been allowed to talk and whinge and cry and get cranky and I feel ok – so thank you to everyone who said something or provided cake or delivered flowers or took a kid away for a day. I wonder now whether I have been a little bit harsh about people – a bit cynical, a bit quick to decide that they would be unkind about me having another baby, and so
SORRY WORLD! You aren’t all awful people! Lots of you are ACE!
So now I feel uniquely qualified to tell you what kind of things work when someone is having an Awkward/Traumatic/Sad Situation like I did.
I got a lot of cake – homemade brownies, Hummingbird cupcakes, a whacking great big box full of Ottolenghi shizzle – financiers, friands, passionfruit meringues, prune and chocolate tart, carrot cake, a mousse thing – it was like God himself sent down tiny heavenly edible buttery baked angels. Honestly, while it probably cost about £500 and I’m now 2kg fatter, it was worth it.
Someone gave us two nights’ worth of lasagne. It meant I could ignore the nagging, unrelenting, boring question of what we were going to eat, and instead, I could turn the oven on, lie on the couch under a ripped whiffy blanket and watch Ghost with the children.
He kind of needs a special separate entry here, because when he dance-walks around NY looking for his killer, trying to protect Demi Moore and to tell her he loves her through the medium of longterm-couple-wordplay (Ditto! DITTO!), and, of course, whenever he does ANYTHING in Dirty Dancing, my soul is soothed, loins afire, my heart beating wildly from the Patrick-lovin’. Swayze as tight-pants-distraction is mind-glowingly effective therapy. David Bowie in his codpiece in Labyrinth would work well here too.
Other Gifts, Tokens, Etc
I don’t want to sound like a mercenary wanker here, but I was very happy to receive posh hand cream and a book. Gift-wise, the last two weeks have been better than my birthday and Christmas combined. LOOK HOW FAR I HAVE TO GO TO GET TRINKETS!
Obviously. This is the big one. In a sweeping, loose categorisation, I will include the kind and anonymous commenters who said they were sad and sorry, to the neighbours who gave me a street-hug, the eye-contact steady and fast as they let me tell them that I was ok, to the friends who messaged me one way or another in acknowledgement. To the friends who let me explain what a molar pregnancy was while they visibly paled and patiently shifted their overloaded shopping baskets from arm to arm in the confectionary aisle of Waitrose, to those who ate (more) cake with me and let me talk. Those who took a kid or two. The kindness of so many people was very healing, and the most lovely thing in all this was that people weren’t pretending something horrible hadn’t happened, and I was very grateful for that.
Getting Back To Normal With Excellent Women
Last night we had dinner at the Dean Street Townhouse with most of the women who are in our bookclub. In that group, one had just flown in from Australia, one from Milan, one from New Mexico. One was just back from directing The Pet Shop Boys, one was about to launch an ethics programme for the NHS, one was about to screen her documentary about Sydney gay hate crimes in the 80’s, one was here for a commercial shoot, one was leaving early to feed her new baby and to prepare for her psychotherapy patients in the morning, another is jugging two jobs and is my cake-sister. To be in the company of brilliant, creative women who know each other well, who have witnessed all those things that matter, even if they are small and stupid and mean not much in the end – to have people to bear witness to it and to care – well, that is the most restorative and consoling thing of all. I am so grateful to my hot-flushed HRT-wielding, loud, cackling, brainy, kind friends.
I wrote a different kind of thing on a similar topic on Ben Starling’s blog last week. You can look it up if you have any appetite for musings on the way women share stuff.
Leather Goods & Outfit Triumphs
I also bought a new bag, which cheered me up a lot. It perfectly matches that Yves Klein Blue polyester second-hand sweaty dress I am wearing in the photo, with big seventies fluted sleeves and the distinct whiff of the overexcited overheated armpits of a lady who doesn’t get out much. That whole outfit was a masterclass of stealth thriftiness – £4 earrings from the V&A sale, an old H&M necklace which looked a little Lara Bohinc-esque but totally was not, and a leopard-print tuxedo jacket which was £9 in the Zara sale years ago.
So that’s it really – my recommendations for dealing with people who are a bit shaky and sad. Buy them sugary confections, be kind, take them out for coffee, show them men on film sporting clinging trou, and love them.