Chapter Eleven: Moving Back To Mam's House, Sven's Holiday, Our Lad Stands Up To A Bully and Pez's Miracle Cat
This latest journal entry talks about the experience of returning to live at my mother's house, only this time, with a family in tow. It also discusses special boy Sven's holiday at Furry Tails cattery, how my partner's son finally fought back against his bully, and the wonderful tale of Pez's miracle cat, finally found after two years.
It’s been two weeks since my last entry, much longer than I’d normally leave it. The reason for that is it’s been a hectic two weeks, and whenever I’ve had a brief window to write, I’ve just been too tired. To be honest, I have work in the morning and I should be getting to bed now, but then it’d be Thursday night before I start to write anything and if I’m knackered again, Thursday night will become Friday and then it all starts to slip. I need to keep the writing momentum going so that it continues to become routine for me to write – it’s the only way I’ll ever get disciplined enough to have a chance at making a career out of this.
One of the reasons behind my tiredness is that, two weekends ago, there was UFC on television on the Saturday night and AEW Revolution on television on the Sunday night. Normally, this wouldn’t be too bad, but last Monday my partner, the twins and I had to move into my Mam’s house for a couple of days, and we had to leave our home first thing, so there was no point sleeping after the wrestling. Our bathroom was knackered, and the landlord needed to get workmen in to replace the sink, the toilet, the floor and part of the walls. Being left without a bathroom for at least two days meant we needed to relocate, and my wonderful Mam was kind enough to take us in. At first, it was a bit jarring for me being back there; having moved in with my partner at the start of the pandemic, I’ve barely been back to my old home since, and doing so with a family in tow took a little getting used to. It felt like the predictability I was used to there was gone, and I didn’t quite know how it would be. My bedroom at my Mam’s was my escape from the world; when recovering from such a prolonged state of severe mental illness, that room was my haven, the place where nobody could touch me, nobody could get at me, and where I was at peace. Now, my room had become our room, and that took a little adjusting. It wasn’t until the first night, when my parents and the twins had gone to bed, that I really started to feel settled. After that, it wasn’t so bad.
One of the things I was worried about most was how the twins would behave. The pair of them, they are wonderful children, but like any set of young siblings, they can get over-excited at times, and they can bicker with each other over nothing. The last thing I wanted was for them to get over-excited, damage things and then start fighting with each other. While my parents have met them a few times, this was the first prolonged period they’d be spending together, and I really wanted it to go well. I shouldn’t have worried. The twins were absolute stars, playing with my niece’s toys nicely, engaging with each other peacefully, and showing levels of politeness to my parents that left me feeling so proud of them. The only slight mishap was the lad knocking our Bella’s water bowl over, and then the lass knocking her apple juice all over the floor, but those were nothing a quick mop couldn’t sort out. I think them returning to school on the same day we stopped there definitely helped; for the first time in months, they had some proper time away from each other, meaning the little annoyances that build up between them over time had eased off. They revelled in exploring my niece’s toy box, and testing out all the new things to play with together, and it was so lovely.
I think my favourite bit was when we had breakfast on the Wednesday morning. My stepfather, John, was starting work a little later that day, which meant we all had breakfast together. He had the news on, and there was a story about an endangered rhino. Well, that just set John and the lad off, regaling each other with rhino stories and facts and having one of the best conversations I’ve ever been privy to. The first time they met my parents, the lad was so shy he barely said a word; now, here he was, leading a conversation about nature, rhinos and Africa. It was so wonderful to see how far he has come, and it was so nice to see our John enjoying the conversation too. I was so proud of the twins over those few days, and I found myself a little sad when the bathroom was finished and we moved back home. It’s going to be lovely when my partner and the twins can spend more time with my parents, and I can’t wait to see how the friendship between the twins and my nieces develops.
While we were staying at my Mam’s, we had to put our special boy, Sven, into the cattery for the first time. This was something I found so difficult. I hated locking the cat-flap an hour before we took him, so he didn’t escape, and I hated the way he looked at me when he couldn’t get out of the house. I hated putting the grate on his travel box that he uses as his bed, though I made sure his teddy was in with him so he wasn’t alone and he had something from home. I hated taking him in the car, sitting with him in the back seat and sensing and hearing his trepidation. I hated handing him over to the lass that runs the cattery, and I hated so much walking away and going home to a house that felt so empty without him. All I could think was that he didn’t understand what was going on, that all he knew is one minute he was curled up in his bed, and the next he was being left with someone he didn’t know in a place he didn’t know. I hated the thought of him thinking we’d abandoned him, I hated the thought of him having to sleep in a strange place, I hated thinking that he had no idea when, or even if, we would come back for him. Dropping him off there was genuinely one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, to the point where I thought I’d rather not go on holiday for the next fifteen years than have to do it again.
We’d taken him to Furry Tails kennels and cattery, just a few miles from home in Melmerby. Having looked up the various options beforehand and skimmed through photos of the place, it seemed by far the best option. He had a massive pen to himself, filled with toys and activities. I’d asked if he could have his travel box in the pen with him, because he uses it as his bed and it has his blanket and teddy in there, and that was no issue at all. Before the end of the night, I’d sent a message to Emma, who runs it, and she replied letting me know he was fine, that he was a little nervous and wasn’t eating much, but that he was starting to interact with her. She also sent some lovely photos of my special boy, which helped put my mind at ease. By the second day, she said he was eating and drinking well and coming for fusses, which was really good to hear. By the time we picked him up on the fourth day, she said he was much more relaxed, and an absolute pleasure to have visit.
On the way home, he wouldn’t stop meowing at us, and he kept snuggling up to our fingers through the grate of his box. Once we got him in, he demanded lots of fusses, which we were more than happy to give (and I think we needed even more!) and then he went around the house telling us everything that was wrong with it. To facilitate the workmen, we’d moved some furniture around and taken a picture of myself, my partner and the twins off the wall. Well, first he went to the kitchen, and meowed until the table, chairs and his litter-tray were in the right place. Then, he went to the front room, and meowed until the table and sofa were back where they belonged. Then, he sat at the floor looking up to where the picture of us normally hangs, and he meowed and meowed until we put it back up on the wall! It’s funny the things he notices that you wouldn’t expect him to. He then wouldn’t leave us alone all day and night, following us if we left the room and staying close by until we returned and sat down, and snuggling up to us all night long. He’s such a special boy, and I love him so much.
I can’t express how grateful I am to Furry Tails for looking after our Sven so well, and for giving me the updates and support I needed to cope with feeling so guilty. If you ever need to put you animals in kennels or a cattery, get in touch with them. Their website is HERE and their Facebook page is HERE. They really are wonderful, and we’ll definitely be taking Sven back there if he ever needs to go back in a cattery for a few days. Which, if I had my way, would be never, but I know that just isn’t realistic. At least I know, when he has to go on his holidays, he’s got a lovely place to go.
There was a great moment yesterday night, when my partner’s son came home from school. His Mam came upstairs, where I was enjoying a siesta, and informed me that all the way home, he’d been talking about how he’d had a wrestling match with another boy at school. Now, the biggest rule about him watching wrestling with me was that he wasn’t allowed to do it himself, so this needed to be discussed. I called him upstairs, and asked him to tell me all about it.
It was obvious he thought he was going to be in trouble, because he kept saying he couldn’t remember anything about it, even though he had just told his Mam all about it. After spending a few minutes sat on the step to remember what had happened, he came back in and explained the story of his big wrestling match. There’s this kid at his school who has been bullying him since before the pandemic. He claims to be our boy’s friend, then when the teachers aren’t around, he is mean to him in a variety of ways, for going on fifteen months now. We’ve tried encouraging the lad to stand up for himself, we’ve tried getting the teachers involved, we’ve supported him in every way we can, but the problem is that our lad wants to be the bully’s friend, and he doesn’t understand why the bully acts so duplicitously towards him. Well, for whatever reason, Monday was the day he stood up for himself. The bully started on our lad again, but this time, our lad stood up for himself, and said if the bully was going to be like this, they were going to have a wrestling match. Then, from the sounds of it, after a mild bout of seven-year-old fisticuffs, our lad put the bully in some form of armbar until the little shit said he’d stop being mean and our lad had won. Then, when the bully said he’d get our lad tomorrow, and he’d have his friend helping him, one of our lad’s friends came over and said that it’ll be two-on-two, because he was going to be on our lad’s team.
Rather than getting told off, we gave the lad all the praise in the world. He hadn’t struck first, or started anything. He’d tried, for months, to be friends with the bully, being nice to him beyond any reasonable expectation and being treated awfully in return. He had been so scared to stand up for himself, until Monday, when not only did he defend himself, he also had one of his real friends show up and say that the bully won’t be able to gang up on our lad anymore. From months of mistreatment to standing up for himself; it’s been a long journey for the lad. People laugh about wrestling, but watching the wrestling with me is what gave our lad both the confidence to stand up for himself and a framework within which to do so; having seen so many small wrestlers stand up for themselves and prosper against bigger, meaner opponents, our lad was able to see himself in the same way, and was able to finally fight back. It’s no surprise most of his favourite wrestlers – Jungle Boy, Darby Allin and Rey Fenix – are smaller people who stand up for themselves and their friends, and who somehow find a way to succeed against all the odds; these are the wrestlers he sees himself in, and who tell him the stories of how people like him can overcome the bullies. It’s one thing him being told he can by adults, it’s another thing altogether seeing it happen, and getting the opportunity to visualise it. It helped our lad realise he didn’t have to sit there and take it from the bully, that he could defend himself, and we’re so proud of him that he has. We have reinforced that he is not allowed to start trouble, but he knows that, if anyone starts it with him, he can defend himself and we have his back.
People can denigrate wrestling all they want, but it’s helped me through so much over the last three decades, and without it, I don’t know if I’d even be here. Being able to pass that on to my partner’s son, and seeing the effect it has had on his confidence, is truly a wonderful thing, and it makes me feel so grateful to be a wrestling fan.
I’m going to end this entry with a link to a wonderful story. My mate, Pez, who was the lead singer in No Thrills, suffered heartbreak in 2019 when his cat went missing. He spent weeks looking for her, parking up in streets where there had been possible sightings and hoping he’d find his friend, only to feel that heartbreak again and again every time his cat wasn’t there. This week, after 645 days, he took a phone call from the vets saying that Mole the cat had been found. For nearly two years, he and his wife had feared the worst, only for a miracle to happen and them to be reunited with Mole. It really is incredible, and it goes to show that you should never give up hope. You can read the full story HERE.
And with that, I will bid you adieu. I’ll be lucky to get five hours’ sleep before my 24-hour shift, so I best get to bed and grab as much rest as I can. Thank you for reading this entry, and for your continued support.
Song of the Chapter:
‘I Believe In Miracles’
by the Ramones.
Quote of the Chapter:
“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
Stephen King; the Shawshank Redemption
"One of the most insightful works I've read on mental health problems in men ... very well-written and a real page-turner. I would recommend it to anyone.
Dancing With Disorder
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