I was feeling very despondent last week and had written previously about an incident with Freddy that had highlighted the frailties of my efforts to help manage the children's grief. I had taken my eye off the ball, which disappoints me immensely, but I can now look upon the whole chapter as a positive. If it wasn't for being exposed to the reality of our current situation, I wouldn't have been able to have made any changes in the last week, changes that would see a vast improvement, a change of paths and a step or two forward in the most positive of directions.
I was working all day Sunday so I saw it as a great opportunity to put one of my intended actions in to place that my personal coaching session had previously generated. I called their grandmother Jackiey and invited her over to ours in my absence in order to spend some time with the boys and even stay the night, something the boys get extremely excited about seeing as they almost always visit her at her home.
Sadly the visit wasn't without incident, but seeing that this week has ended in such a satisfactory manner I don't feel the need to drag it up. I find writing to be amazingly therapeutic but I would not wish my recollections to be inflammatory in any way so I will summarise her visit as a positive in that it told me quite a lot about her relationship with the children.
It's so important for parents, especially single parents, to have a strong and reliable support network around them, you can go through months without 'needing a friend' but when you do it's so reassuring to know that those positive role models are there waiting in the wings to come and be wonderful influence on the boys.
I recently said in my best man's speech that you know you have a great friend when they pay an interest in your children; JJ was the groom that day and he was also the man that was there for us that Sunday evening when despite my best intentions, things got unexpectedly worse before they got better. JJ is a respected godparent to the boys and was my unit of first response, taking the sting out of things with his impartial approach until I got home from work.
Nothing induces guilt like parenthood but we all have to work. As a presenter I travel fairly often so rely on the quality of the Wi-Fi wherever I am in order to speak to my boys on a daily basis. My work as a life coach requires me to Skype with clients for an hour at a time so I would say I'm in a great position to represent those who need to stay connected whilst away which is possibly why the next day required me to go into London to film a video at the Amba Hotel Charing Cross to highlight the fact they have the fastest Wi-Fi in the UK.
I entrusted the boys with my best friends Dean and Dawn, as warm and caring a family as you'll meet, knowing the children are having fun is exactly what you need when you're out working to alleviate the sense of feeling like you should be somewhere else.
Back to the business of progress, another one of my planned actions was to bring the boys godmothers back into the equation and whilst I went and celebrated the bravery and courage of our military at 'the Millie's' which broadcasts on Wednesday (watch out for the particularly tear-jerking moment of the evening when a soldier is reunited with his 5 year old daughter after a year away) Bobby and Freddy were enjoying a long overdue evening with their godmothers Jennifer and Kelly. Their company would always inevitably make the boys feel closer to Mum because they were her best friends and whenever they saw them their mum was never far.
Already so much had been done to ensure we didn't continue to move sideways through their loss. Something already in the planning was the boys annual charity skate night, we had booked the rink for two hours and sold hundreds of tickets with the help of Ian Beckwith, the representative from our sponsors Barclays and via the night and our sponsorship page (click here) had managed to raise just over £3,000 pounds for the charity Grief Encounter.
We celebrated raising such a wonderful amount by joining the cast I'm working with for an incredible meal at a fantastic Indian restaurant near the theatre on the Friday night. I love involving the boys with my work friends especially in social scenario's, it teaches them so much and I love how included everyone makes them feel.
Despite having a wonderful moment with Bobby doing one of my favourite things, dancing with him during a fleeting visit to a friend's birthday party on Saturday night (Fred doesn't dance so much, he likes to play with the dogs?!), my second most important effort of the week was to arrange a visit to Jade's special place next week for a large group of us (including Batman, their old dog) and to go for dinner afterwards.
Without doubt the most valuable effort I made was to sit down with Bobby after he had been slightly rude to me and discuss with him why this had been all too common of late. This is where those coaching skills reveal a profound personal use because by asking open questions and not making any judgement I was able to get to the bottom of how he is feeling about his mum. One of the saddest things I've heard as a dad may also be one of the most appreciated.
During a blubberingly constructive heart to heart, Bobby remarked whilst in tears that he is rude to me because 'he has nobody else to take it out on' something I knew and have reluctantly accepted anyway, but to hear such a mature and honest statement come from the mouth of a child was ahead of his years and very meaningful for me. It was validation, it made anything he has ever said to me lose significance.
I leapt around the table choked to tears myself and we hugged until we had both finished. The relief was incredible for both. I have a feeling we are really moving forward now, it's amazing how much can change in a week.