Life is rough so you gotta be tough! Some thoughts from a Globetrotting Granny

Life is rough so you gotta be tough!

Johnny Cash

I like this quote – mainly because it is true! The past month has been a bit rough for our family but as I’ve said before, we’re a pretty tough bunch!

My sister has given me a new nickname – she tells me I’m now a Globetrotting Granny, especially as my youngest daughter recently announced that she is expecting her first baby in March next year. So I’m very excited – again!!! And my grandchildren are spread around the world – hence Globetrotting Granny Debs 🙂

I’m slowly returning from a blogging break

I’ve been away from blogging while visiting my daughter in England for the past month, I’ve had a lot on my mind and a lot of time to think. When you have a blogging break it’s always interesting to realise how much time you actually spend blogging!

I’ve missed it though, especially the interaction with other bloggers. I haven’t checked my spam folder in all that time and had over 900 spam comments, not one was in the spam folder by mistake. Is that a record?

So onto some random thoughts

Among all the stress of travelling from Australia to Cheddar; hanging out in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Bristol’s Southmead Hospital; watching my daughter and her partner coping and learning how to manage with their very premature baby; seeing baby Dottie (my newest granddaughter) respond positively amid the beeping alarms, pulsating lights and stresses of being born too early; walking dogs; negotiating busy city traffic and road rage – I must say I’ve had a lot on my plate!

Here are some of my thoughts – in no particular order:

A grandmother’s love knows no bounds (and a mother’s love)

  • Flying from Australia to England at the drop of a hat when Dottie was born early at 25 weeks, was a no brainer to me. I knew I just had to do it. As I said in my post Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart, I was fortunate to have no real commitments and was able to just pack and go with the support of my family.
  • Seeing your daughter become a mother is an emotional moment and when things don’t go to plan, as in Dottie’s early unexpected arrival, makes it harder still. I worry about my daughter coping and also about Dottie’s ability to thrive. I think as a mother you never stop worrying about your children but I had to put aside my own concerns and be strong for my daughter, helping out in whatever way I could.
  • I was able to share in this care with Nanny Angie, who ended up staying longer than planned due to breaking her ankle – I was able to help by administering first aid, with the help of the Mathematician via Facetime back in Australia, and then drive to Emergency and to visit Dottie. Poor Nanny Angie!! I’m not planning on emulating her just so I can stay longer! We are now good friends and she was the first person I called after my road rage incident, and she helped me feel better about the whole experience.

It’s a dog’s life

One of my jobs while I’ve been visiting has been to walk Ozzy – or have Ozzy walk me in most cases – on the days the dog walker doesn’t take him out. Ozzy is a delightful chunky black Labrador, he is still a puppy in lots of ways, despite weighing almost as much as me!! He’s matured a lot since our last visit and is really very good.

  • I’ve learnt how to put on the special lead to stop him pulling me along (it works some of the time)
  • I’ve mastered the art of picking up dog poo in the little black bags, even double bagging in some cases – oooh go me, just don’t look at my face as I do it!
  • I’ve learnt to carry treats and poo bags in my pockets
  • I’ve seen more dogs in prams and carriers here than I’ve seen babies in prams – dogs are treated very well over there!
Ozzy after one of our walks

Travelling solo

  • I’ll be honest, I much prefer travelling with the Mathematician, but I know I can do it on my own if I have to, and this time I had to!
  • It’s lonely at times, it can be stressful and it’s definitely not for wimps!
  • The best way to handle jet lag is to travel for over 24 hours, with minimal stopovers, then visit the NICU and see your daughter and new granddaughter, marvelling at the medical technology you knew nothing about before now, stay moving and awake all day until midnight remembering to eat very late in the evening – MacDonald’s no less – on the way home from hospital. Then go to bed and sleep like a baby waking up with minimal effects of jet lag – and repeat (minus the McDonald’s dinner)
  • Make contact with old friends and accept any invitations that come your way
  • Try to stay organised and keep track of all your important bits. I have 3 P’s as a priority: passport, purse and phone, followed closely by my glasses.
  • The importance of laughter cannot be underestimated. Laughter is important during stressful times and I managed to make some of the people around me laugh during my stay – usually at my antics, but laughter is laughter 🙂
Granny Debs on the kid's chair
Granny Debs on the kid’s chair – it got a laugh!

Driving and road rage

  • Despite driving competently, without any real drama, for over 40 years, the prospect of driving the 22 miles from Cheddar to Bristol every day was daunting. But I managed to do it! I wrote this post earlier in the week…Driving to see Miss Dottie
  • I have never experienced road rage before, so this week’s incident, has left me shaken but undeterred. I’ve continued driving, because I had to!
  • Generally drivers in UK are exceptionally polite, considerate and easy to get along with, although the narrow roads can be a bit intimidating at times.
A double roundabout
A double roundabout – so scary!

Friends for life

  • When I knew I was going to England I immediately contacted some old friends who offered to have me stay for as long as I needed. Shelley (and husband Chris) has been my friend since we met in the playground of Cheddar First School back in 1992, and whenever we visit Cheddar we always see them. They visited us in Australia as well, a huge trip with their 4 young children, but so much fun! So it was lovely to stay at Shelley’s and have her support during this difficult time. You can read more about our special connection to this village here: Cheddar Connection.
  • Other friends like my old next door neighbour Liz, my friends Nola, Kay, Elaine, Tiina and Jim – have all been so nice to me at this time. It’s good having connections to the village as we do.
  • Making new friends has also been a delight. I value friendship very highly and I’m one of those people who talk to strangers.
  • Supportive messages from friends back at home in Australia has been so lovely too.
  • I’m well known for talking to random people and everyone I’ve spoken to along the way, while out walking, eating in cafes, buying gifts, shopping – have been so wonderfully positive and caring.

Premature babies are fighters

  • NICU staff are worth their weight in gold – they really are amazing!
  • It’s amazing seeing a premature baby fighting for life, they’re perfectly formed but just so tiny and we’ve all noticed how feisty Dottie is!
  • Parents of premature babies can be forgotten a little in all the drama, they need to be checked on by medical staff and helped deal with the huge range of emotions they are going through.
  • It’s tough, but understandable, watching your tiny granddaughter but not being able to touch her.
Dottie is a month old and weighs about 1150grams or 2lb7oz

Blogging friends are more fun in real life

  • I have been known to meet up with blogging friends round the world whenever I can, so when Ann from Bananafitz life reached out, I took up her offer of meeting for some time away from the hospital. I knew Ann lived in the general area from connections on Instagram over the years and comments on my blog, but I didn’t know she’d worked at Southmead hospital for many years.
  • My family are always so wary and suspicious whenever I arrange to meet up with bloggers but once again, I was proven right. Ann was not an axe wielding, drug crazed truck driver pretending to be a midlife female blogger. Instead she was lovely, friendly, caring, understanding, considerate – and a great driver!
  • We had superb weather for our walk around the Bristol Docks, chatting away like old friends! We stopped for a cuppa and cake in an interesting ‘container’ styled area and enjoyed just wandering in the warm sunshine. Thanks again for the time-out Ann 🙂
Blogger meetup with Ann in Bristol

September is a beautiful time of year in England

  • We have been to UK in September before but I’d forgotten just how lovely a time of year it is. It’s generally still green and very pretty with hanging baskets still in full bloom.
  • The weather has been warm, lots of sunshine, some brief showers, it’s not dark until about 8pm and the flowers are still colourful in everyone’s gardens.
  • As I’ve walked Ozzy and hiked around, I’ve enjoyed the warmth of the sunshine, the feeling of being alive, the start of Autumn coming and the general feeling of being comfortable.
  • I’m impressed with my packing ability, having only 1 item unworn.
  • The balloons are often up in the sky around Bristol and make me smile every time I see them.
  • I have tried to take care of myself too, by going for walks in Cheddar Gorge and around the area. It helped to clear my mind.
My friend Shelley’s lovely garden

Where to from here?

I’m now home again and catching up on things. I will get back into regular blogging but probably not at the same level I was before my break. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything there is to do and I’m still recovering from the stress of the past month. I will slowly start to engage again with my favourite bloggers.

It will take me a while to recover and just when I do, we will be packing up to go back to England to visit Dottie as we had originally planned!

How do you ease back into something after a break – any advice for me?

Nice to see you here again! Thanks for all your support 🙂

Deb

(AKA Globetrotting Granny)


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66 Replies to “Life is rough so you gotta be tough! Some thoughts from a Globetrotting Granny”

  1. So glad to hear that your precious grandbaby is doing good!! Globetrotting Granny sounds perfect for you! Definitely a grandmother’s love knows no bounds!! Nothing better than laughter during stressful times.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It was brilliant to meet you Deb and what a fantastic day to show off the delights of my home City and the Bristol harbourside area. Glad you think I’m an ok driver!! It helps when you have been driving those streets for nigh-on 40 years!! So pleased little Dottie is doing so well. Hope to see you (and hubby) again very soon. x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think you’re an amazing driver Ann! The taxi driver I had there told me if you can drive in Bristol you can drive anywhere, so I felt a bit happier with my efforts after that! Look forward to catching up again.x

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  3. I’m not a mother nor a grandmother but I can very well relate to this blog. Congratulations again and I trust that Dottie continues to do well. I love your three P’s of travel and will post same. Saying hello from way across the globe 🌎 a little island in the Atlantic called Bermuda 🇧🇲

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Welcome back, Debbie! Take it easy and blog when you feel like it. You’ve just got back from a long and emotional trip. I’m glad you had a little bit of time out with friends and met a blogger there. Hospital visits can make life outside the hospital seems surreal and make us crave for “normalcy”. #mlstl

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Debbie, so so glad that you were able to just drop everything and head over to England. Dottie looks absolutely gorgeous and so very very tiny. I hope she’s continuing to do well. I too am very much a solo traveller back to the UK these days for Mum. I’m okay with jetlag going there, but coming back it takes me 10 days to recover. Then more to regain equilibrium and get back into the rhythm of things. It’s tough. But … like you, I wouldn’t not do it. Hope your next visit is less stressful and you can have more fun. #MLSTL, Flipped and Pinned.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jo, yes I can imagine you are getting used to solo travel too, it’s such a long way isn’t it? It’s tough coming back and you’re right it takes much longer to settle down. I’ve been back a few days and already I’ve broken a tooth and now need emergency dental care, just what I don’t need after everything I’ve been through lately! Thanks for sharing and I’m happy to say Dottie is progressing well since I left them. xx

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  6. Oh Deb, thanks for this catch up. It was and still IS huge to have a baby come into the world at 25 weeks. That she is doing well…and her parents are “ok” is good but it remains a roller coaster I imagine. Amazing how “you” could do what you did but now, over time, you need to care for how much of an emotional ride it’s been. Some timeout…and a little spring to salve your soul…sending love. Denyse x #mlstl

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Denyse, some spring sunshine is doing the trick as I rest up in my sunroom in the garden. The rollercoaster is still going around at top speed and we’re all still hanging on! Thanks for the reminder to take care of myself, I really appreciate your kindness. I am still amazed at what I managed to do! Dottie is still a little fighter xx

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  7. You are one determined soul and will keep you and your family in my prayers. Visiting you at #MLSTL. One way I ease back into my routine after being away is to lower my expectations of myself for at least a week or two. Have you been doing that? Consider giving yourself TLC.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Nancy, it’s been a very stressful time. I think I’ll follow your advice and lower my expectations of myself for at least a week or so. I’m taking time to rest and keeping commitments to a minimum. Yes TLC is a priority 🙂 xx

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  8. Hi Deb, great to see you back again and I’m glad you got home safely after everything you’ve been through. It was also good to see that there was much to enjoy in your stay here. I just hope you have time to get the washing done before you pack everything again for your next globetrotting journey!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Clive, I did manage to have some good fun in the downtime from visiting in hospital, otherwise I might have gone a bit mad! Yes plenty of time to get the washing done and repack the bags. That flight is soooo long! Thanks for your support x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It sounds to me that you made very good use of your time. I can’t imagine a flight that long – for medical reasons I wouldn’t be allowed to do it anyway! Think of it as practice for your return in a couple of months’ time 😊 x

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  9. Oh you’re amazing! Dottie is so lucky to have you as a granny (and Mel is to have you as a mum). Hope you can take some time out to chill now until you have to travel again. Maybe get the Mathematician to run around for you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thanks so much Hayley. That’s so lovely of you to say that! As you well know, being a mother just gets into your blood and you do what you have to do at the time! I’m relaxing as we speak in the glorious sunroom in the spring sunshine, I probably should be doing something else, but I’m sure it can wait xx

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Deb – lovely to see you back again and blogging away merrily – I’m worried that your family is onto me and when we finally meet you’ll find out that I really am “an axe wielding, drug crazed truck driver” who just blogs about Midlife as a way of meeting and luring unwary 50+ year old women to their untimely end!
    On that note, welcome back to the blogosphere and I’m glad all’s well with Dottie and her family and you did SO well to navigate all that air (and road) travel – you have my undying admiration!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha Leanne, they’re definitely onto you!!! You’d be surprised how worried they get whenever I say I’m meeting one of my blogging friends! You made me laugh, so thanks for that. I did extremely well to not resort to drink after everything I went through! It was soooo stressful, you have no idea. It’s lovely to be back, albeit in a revised way. I’m in the sunroom as we speak, where are you?? xx

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  11. Deb although I followed your journey on Facebook reading it all at one go I feel overwhelmed on your behalf. As Moms and Grandmas we just do what we need to do. Your daughter must have felt such comfort and support having you there.
    As to blogging my advice is really listen to what your gut tells you. If writing is cathartic and helpful then do it. If it feels like a task don’t. Save your energy for your own recovery and what is ahead. Your blogging friends will still be here. XO

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thanks so much Sue, it’s been lovely to have you along with me during this time. I have felt you with me and being overwhelmed is a normal state for me at the moment. My daughter is going well and is so strong but it must be very hard for her.

      I like your blogging advice, it makes complete sense to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Glad to have you back – and even more glad that little Dottie is a fighter. I’m quite used to travelling alone – but would be challenged by the roads & the driving. September in that part of the country would be absolutely gorgeous. #MLSTL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jo, it’s been very stressful and it’s good to be home for a bit now. The countryside was just so beautiful in the time I was there and it’s been a bit strange coming home to spring here, it’s been much colder than I’m used to as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Well done. I have crossed the world 5 times by myself and it’s not much fun. Well done Dotty and all the family. I laughed at the dog observations. I saw a chap with a poodle sort of puppy strapped to his chest just today – some dogs really have become fur babies. At least black labs are too big for that nonsense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you appreciated my dog observations! I’m not really a dog person but I coped ok! Thanks for your understanding at solo travelling too. It was all worth it! Dottie is growing but it is all such a worry.

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    1. Thanks Lorna the idea had crossed my mind but I might start with a few posts in a Globetrotting Granny type series. I’ll try to catch up on my reading over the next few day. Thought of you as I started reading where the crawdads sing!! xx

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  14. Welcome back Globetrotting Granny! Your voice has been missed, but completely understand the need to be present in all ways for your daughter and for Dottie the fighter. Congrats on Granny again in March!
    I don’t have advice for easing back in, I’m too much a newbie…but my own mantra is that life is what happens when you are blogging…take time to live life. The blog, and we, will be here.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hiya Globetrotting Granny, enjoy your garden and your lovely Mathematician the rest will sort itself out with time. I really believe whatever happens in our lives there is a reason sometimes that reason is never quite clear or understood! We are strong us women X

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Welcome home Deb! If only for a short time. Thank you for bringing us up to date. My sister is a NICU nurse, and I so admire the work she does. I’m wishing all the best for your daughter, her husband, and the new grandbaby. It sounds like you’re all pretty tough to me! #MLSTL

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Oh Deb, what a time you have had – you are SO brave to do that long journey on your own, especially when you must have been so anxious. NICU staff are amazing and I am sure that you have all been supported by them. Isn’t it amazing how much progress has been made in the care of premature babies? Dottie is certainly a little fighter and I am sure that adrenaline is keeping your daughter going at the moment – it must be so much to take in.
    I am pleased you managed some relaxation time with new friends and old and I bet you are already counting the days to returning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Deb, you’ve hit it perfectly! Adrenaline, anxiety, amazing staff, solo travel, driving – I’m in awe looking back, at what I’ve managed to do in that short time! I am enjoying the springtime here and staying in touch for daily Dottie updates from my daughter. I am quite tired but also feeling proud of our family and myself!

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  18. Hi, Deb – Welcome home! I am so glad to hear that Dottie is doing well. Warm hugs to her and your family.
    You definitely had a rich and varied experience in England. I’m glad that you were able to meet up with Ann.
    After each of my (three) blogging breaks, I’ve blogged a little bit differently (especially since the last one). I love how our blogs are dynamic and constantly changing, just like we are!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree Donna, we are all unique in our blogging practices but they are all dynamic and constantly changing as you say. My experiences while travelling on my own were mostly positive and I’m proud of what i managed to do. It was a highlight meeting up with Ann. Thanks again for all your kind thoughts xx 🙂

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  19. Hi Deb. Welcome back! In a way, I can relate with a lot of what you and your family have been through recently. I’m so glad that Dottie is doing okay. My daughter lost her baby boy who was due in August. It was a terrible time when she lost him and we all went through a grieving process for Baby William. I understand what you mean, when you said you had to be strong for your daughter. I’m happy to say my daughter is expecting a baby girl in February. Glad to have you back, Deb and I can completely understand why you want to get back into blogging at a slower pace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment Christina. I’m sorry for your daughter’s loss, it is a sad time for the whole family. Good to hear she’s expecting a baby girl in February. Yes as mothers we have to be strong for others but shouldn’t neglect our own feelings. It’s great to be back, but at a slower pace!

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  20. Hey Deb, aka Globetrotting Granny, what a whirlwind trip you’ve had. Isn’t it amazing how far out of our comfort zone we can handle when we have to. So glad Dottie’s doing okay and that you’ve survived it all in your usual smiling way. Take care my friend and enjoy being home in the quiet pace of Tumba. xx 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Miriam, thanks so much my lovely friend. I am amazed at what I managed to do and am proud of myself too. I didn’t fall apart, I held myself together and I did what I could to help out. It is so nice being at home in Tumba with the spring flowers and peaceful environment to relax in. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Welcome back Deb. It only seems like yesterday that you were jet setting towards the newly born dot called Dotty. I’m sure you will be sadly missed as part of the support team. Congratulations on the news of the next expected addition to your growing family.

    Liked by 1 person

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