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Monday, 1 May 2017

Hauskaa vapua kaikille!

I love the way Facebook now shows us memories of what we were doing on this day in previous years. I enjoy scrolling through my old posts to remember what we were up to. Today is May Day in the UK. We always celebrate it on the first Monday of the month. In Finland, it's called Vappu and it's always celebrated on 1st May, regardless of what day it is. So my title today has been my status almost every year since 2009. It means 'Happy May Day everyone!" But here's what we've done on Vappu:

2009 - The boys were quite young. We cycled into Oulu and had a picnic in Ainola Park. The snow had melted.
 I can't remember where in the day this fitted but we had a party at church and played lots of silly games and generally had a lot of fun.
 Cycling over a big bridge into the city. Cycling in Oulu was really enjoyable most of the time, especially in Spring.
All our bikes, lined up in the park while we sprawled out on the grass. The river in the background had already thawed and the fountains were on. The park was full of people, all enjoying the day.

2010 - We were just starting to build our house and the foundations had just been laid. We were covering the foundations with 'egg box' to stop water from getting in.

2011 - We were in the middle of building our house and we spent the day hanging the sauna door. It was made of thick glass and was so heavy!

2012 - I was in bed, completely paralysed and in a lot of pain. I didn't know it at the time but I had cauda equina syndrome and I should have called 112 and gone to hospital.

2013 - I was travelling back to Finland, having been in the UK for a job interview for a headship of a school. At that time, our whole focus was on getting ready to move back here. It was the first of several interview trips.

2014 - I had an interview for a job with East Riding Council, something to do with data. I'm kinda glad I didn't get it because then I wouldn't have got my current job, which I really enjoy.

2015 - Absolutely no idea. I was probably at work - just a normal day.

2016 - We were on a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords. It was the first sea day and we spent it swimming in the pool before having a lovely meal.

So what about 2017? Well, Neil will stay at home and work on the garden. We've had it completely relandscaped to make it wheelchair accessible. It's lovely to sit out and potter. Meanwhile, today, I'm taking Josh shopping. It's not often I get the chance for a mum and son day but he needs some new clothes and then we're going to get his 21st birthday present (almost a year late) - a new piano.

What I love about taking a day and remembering the years gone by, is that it reminds me we don't know what life is going to throw at us next. One year, we were in the midst of building a new life. Just a year later, our lives were turned upside down. So many people thought that I had stayed positive in spite of what happened but the truth is, I considered suicide on an almost daily basis. I was terrified that we couldn't survive it. Pain, exhaustion and fear were immense for a while. But then only a short time later, we have built a new normal. I never expected to be happy again. I never thought I'd find pleasure in something as simple as being accepted but last night, Josh went snowboarding while I skied. He could have raced off on his own but we did it together. Today, we'll go round shopping centres, me in a wheelchair and him walking, and he's not embarrassed to be seen with me. It's all okay. I'm happy.

One of my favourite Bible verses is this: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8: 28) Bad stuff happens but God can bring something good out of it. That gives me such hope and confidence to face the future.