Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Celebrating from a distance....

My baby girl is twelve today. It has been a strange experience in celebrating her birthday with her from such a distance and not actually seeing her. I really do feel like I have let her down. As I write though she is partying and spending time with her friends and I am sure thoroughly enjoying herself. Part of my role as Lucy's dad is one of provider and in the world of being self employed, I go where the work is and often personal life takes second place, especially in the service industry of the care profession where I operate. I have the weekend and Friday off to make it up to her, but that at the moment just seems like placating my guilt. Amy is so in tune with how I feel and organised a FaceTime call this morning at 7am, when I could watch Lucy open her presents. I am eternally grateful, that my wife supports me and understands the difficulty I have in balancing work with home life. It was wonderful to watch and I found the whole experience quite emotional, shedding a tear or two. It was not the same as being there, but it has made my day. Happy birthday Lucy and know that the day you were born changed my life for the better. I am blessed to call you my daughter and you have grown into such a generous and loving person that I am extremely proud to have been involved in raising you. If I am involved it is a modern miracle you are turning out so well! Your birthday presents this year such as the laptop to use for high school, just show how much you are growing up. Have a great rest of the day and I will see you in a couple of days for the biggest hug you have ever had xx

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Three more days to go and I am nowhere to be seen..

Birthday excitement and expectation is rising, all presents are bought for Lucy and Amy. A mini sewing bee and pizza party (great idea Amy) is organised for Tuesday and the most expensive week of the year is about to begin. There is going to be one thing missing despite all the preparations and year long hints from Mrs Hammond, sadly is going to be me. I am away for the whole week working, Lucy is so upset with me every time we talk about it and I can see it in her eyes. I told her last night that 'wherever I am, what ever I am doing I think of her, Wiggle and your mother all the time. You are my world and make me very proud' She told me that this was cheesy, so she can't be that upset! I am gutted and feel I am letting Amy and the girls down with lots of time away at the moment, and missing key dates such as birthdays just compounds this. I have to keep telling myself, it pays the bills, it pays the bills. I usually get really emotional watching the girls open their presents and I am not sure that Skype will be quite the same. I am though, having most of half time off the next week, so lots to look forward to. I will try my best to make up for my continued absence...

Sunday, 8 October 2017

The tale of twelve goals, two wins and a host of deadly farts!

Football makes up a part of the core of Anna's identity. She loves it and lives, breathes and eats football every day. It has been quite a footballing week with Anna scoring twelve, yes twelve goals on Tuesday night at the FDC in a series of mini games with no less than two hatricks! The reference to breaking wind comes in the description of the most harrowing experience I had with her in the car on the way home after. Victory did not smell sweet on this occasion!  Thursday saw her put in a 'lady of the match' performance for the school team. Lastly, Saturday saw the Fakenham Under 10 ghosts gain their second win in a row with a thumping 7-1 victory, with Anna playing vital parts in both defending and making a couple of goals. She was everywhere! I have never see her head the ball so many times. Sometimes though, I think the footballing world gets quite complicated for her, as it is so closely linked to how she feels about herself and how she thinks people see her too. This week, we have had lots of upset, anger and frustration as she has declared her wish to be a goal keeper. She is becoming an excellent and confident outfield player and she does not always see this. I have spent the week trying to boost her confidence and persuade her to stick with the path she has started down. She often grapples with understanding where she fits in the world and I am sure this is no different. Keep going Wiggle, it has been an epic footballing week (apart from your silent but deadly farts!) xx

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Things are a changing...

I can't keep up. My Lucy is growing so much emotionally, socially and physically every day, breathe and you can easily miss something. What a wonderful young lady she is becoming. Her confidence is soaring, she is working so hard at school and is piling up the merits. I love her focus and the targets she sets herself. First up the Bronze award (set amount of merits and she is not far off) and her determination is so admirable. Her social wit and positive outlook just flow every day and I can never say enough how proud of her I am. I love her pre-teenage look she is developing, it is really her own thing (although I do think this hat looks a bit like Benny from Crossroads - showing my age!) I am so conscious now to ensure I give her as much personal space as she needs, as her body changes and she starts to become a young woman. Not long now till another birthday rolls by! Anna told me today, she did 'not want her sister to grow up as she loved her as she was'. I did explain she'll still be Lucy, she always be her sarcastic, loving and generous big sister. I think Anna feels she is being left a bit behind as Lucy is starting to do different things such as go into town with her mates, lots of time on her phone and hanging out in her bedroom chilling and listening to music. We can't stop time Wiggle and we already see so many changes in you as well developing. My girls are close and have a strong relationship, but it is a pleasure to also see them forge their own paths as well. Football update - Anna and the boys secured their first league win today. Boom - oh she bossed it! Scoring and running herself into the ground. At one point my heart was in my mouth as she ran head to head with a lad for a loose ball and they clattered into each other. She was everywhere!  A good day to be a Hammond...

Monday, 18 September 2017

I get a great feeling...

One of the perks of being a parent and an area that I really get a sense of accomplishment and fulfilment about being a dad is providing for my family and being appreciated for it. Anna has the smallest bedroom in the house and for a good couple of years she has struggled to make it spacious enough to enjoy, her furniture was not in a good state and all her stuff was literally on top of her!. For the last three weekends I have grafted (and perhaps overdone it) to redecorate and create her a bedroom that has all the right storage, looks great and is space she can truly call her own. With much swearing and considerable help from Mrs Hammond (we made a great team!) this weekend in putting up, breaking, fixing and manipulating large amounts of Ikea furniture, Anna finally has a room to be proud of, that meets her needs and to enjoy. If I am honest, it gives me great pride to be able to do this and give the girls a firm base to grow and provide them with a home. I have tackled practical demons and conquered them, for now at least! Anna is delighted and it was a pleasure to see her settle in last night and this more than made up for the levels of tiredness I felt today! Anna calling it her lady den! With my judgement clouded by exhaustion, I have promised Lucy that we will make a start on hers in a few weeks, which is definitely in need of attention, redecoration and decluttering. I must be mad as Lucy's room is going to be quite a challenge as she is a hoarder. I know a home comes from more than just the building and the way it looks; I know a home is founded upon love, trust, security and helping each other - but it also good if it looks nice and feels right. We have definitely created this in Anna's room (and nobody will ever see the drill holes where I could not get the mirror up as they are now behind it or the mark on the back of the door covered by a Dobby postcard where the nail I used was too long from the other side!)

Friday, 8 September 2017

On the brink of new horizons....

The summer holidays have finished and team Hammond is back to the grind. None of us are really seeing it as a negative as we all really do benefit from the routine and the structure, as much as we resist it. The girls really do love school, learning and spending time with her friends. Lucy, looking sparkling in her new uniform, headed off to her first day at the academy. I was gutted I was away and not able to send her off and wish her well. It doesn't feel quite the same sending a text message. I am so proud of her and she had a great day. She has timetables, structure and all the things that excite Lucy, that would not float my boat but it does her. Anna, sporting her new haircut and a bit nervous about other peoples perception of her  also had a cracking first day back. She is anxious as she is in a different school to her sister, but all seems to have gone well. Mrs Hammond has had the week of her life. I cannot say enough how proud of her I am, I have been like an excited child and wanted to sing this from the rooftops. One piece of good news and success I cannot reveal yet and on top of this, she has only gone and passed her Masters! Keep this going Amy and you will have a long list of letters after your name, makes me look quite insignificant. Richly deserved after all her hard work. Sometimes lacking in confidence, I hope this week has shown her how much she is worth and how good she really is at what she does, this is before we talk about how amazing a parent she is. There is reason for all the Hammonds to be confident, we all work hard and put the effort in. Surely good things, success and reward come from this. Keep up the graft team Hammond..

Sunday, 27 August 2017

A bold and well thought out move...

We are home now and having spent the day washing clothes, doing the garden and settling back in, I can take stock and reflect on what was a truly lovely holiday and time with Amy and the girls. If Cornwall will have us again, I am sure the family Hammond will be back again some time in the coming years. A beautiful place, lovely kind and generous people and great fun. A place where you can eat cake for lunch has to be a great place for a holiday! Could have done with some better weather, if I am honest! It was so relaxing, calmed my head down after such busy times and gave me such a wonderful opportunity to spend time with my wife and children. My favourite day was our traditional visit to a theme park for rides and tat. Can't beat time with my rollercoaster buddies. Chasing the sunshine abroad next year and Amy has already booked us a holiday to Corfu! I would love one more family holiday in Cornwall before the girls get too old and bored to come away with us and create some more special memories though. 
Look up and you can spot Anna's new daring hair doo! After several days of debate and worry about whether it was the right thing to do, what people would think of her, she only went and did it! Alongside her mother and a very posh stylist she has created the hairstyle that keeps giving. She is cool, casual, chic and a little bit daring all in one. We love it Wiggle and it is definitely something you should have done ages ago. We know she has been secretly thinking about it for some time and I am delighted she had the courage to do something so bold. It was so obvious how important this was to her and she had given it so much thought. I almost didn't recognise her in a shop immediately after! Amy did so much to support her in looking at hairstyles on the internet and helping her choose. I was a bit frightened of the whole situation, if I am honest and anxious about how it would look and how Anna might be perceived, that I forgot the most important thing a parent should do. Allow their children to be themselves and explore who they are. Sorry Wiggle, for doubting you, your hair looks beautiful, as do you...