Measurement in Spiders

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Last week
you froze mid hall
screamed, cried
and shook, till
broom in hand,
you heard the book
slam hard against
the ground.

Last night, you
peered up, paused
and pointed to
the ceiling,
that’s the one
you killed last
week, right?

Right, I said,
praying to every
God I’ve ever
read about,
Do not let that
spider move,
not a leg, or arm
not a sneeze
or yawn….

Ok you said,
and went about
your business,
and for a moment,
brief as it was,
I felt my lungs
breathe.

Karen Hayward ©2018
Image from WordPress library

Old man up my road
owns a white
Siberian husky.
He pounds along
the path chasing
cats, pulling old man
here, there
everywhere.
His bark is fierce
splits atoms
demands attention.

Old man up the road
pauses at our gate,
for Husky blue eyes
searches for his
Princess blue eyes and
he finds her.

Husky stands tall
with his front paws
perched atop the
Black iron gate.
Head bowed.
He does not bark,
jump, skip or
dance with
excitement.
He patiently waits.

Small girl squeals
with delight
‘our friend, mummy’
she looks to me
for permission.

Permission granted.

Small girl walks steadily
to the gate leaving
behind her fears
and anxiety.
Husky holds his position.
Pausing a foot away
she reaches out small
tender fingers…

Husky smells, a small
dance in his back paws
as her fingers delve
deep into his fur
they rub heads for
a split second
then husky is calm
blue eyes searching
blue eyes, she smiles.

Old man tells me
he ain’t never seen husky
like this with no one…
She must be special he says.

Old man knows.
Husky knows.
I know.

One day she too will know.

Karen Hayward ©2018

Image found on pinterest

Drowning in my hair. 


There is a silence before rain 

falls hissing through atoms, 

empty, threatening, soldiers 

of nature crashing into life. 

But what of the blood that spills? 

I grasp at the lose threads 

of my soul as it splits with 

each drum a blunt knife 

tearing hearts chambers. 

I count in my

mind how many foot steps, 

one for each sting of thunders drop. 

One hundred? Two hundred? 

I estimate five hundred. 

Five hundred shards of my soul 

scattered through petrichor. 

The earthly scent is a blessing

and a curse defined in your heart. 

Your heart. . .but does it beat now 

rapid screams of need? There 

goes another shard, sharp and

glossed in maternal lubricant. 

If only I were your belief. A hero 

powered by the Gods, mutated 

chemically, born to other planets. . .

I could slow the rain and calm 

the orchestra of blood playing 

in your ears. I could transmit 

messages across the surface 

water, manipulate cloud and 

envelope you in protective fluff. 

My wings would stretch the 

earth in search of you,  my

soul would scour the universe

as my spirit caught claps of

thunder between the falling

droplets of rain.
Karen Hayward ©2017

Image and words 

 

Anxiety in children; when the Caterpillar is too scared to turn.

We don’t ask for much only that you hear. 

Trust us when we tell you it’s a founded fear. 

Stop dismissing us as helicopter mums,

When will  you see anxietys not fun. 

You don’t understand I see it on your face,

every time I leave her here at this place. 

You do not know best. 

She’s not the same as the rest.

Every day I speak with you, every day nothing new,

Suddenly you decide theres a problem out of the blue?

And the reason for this problem, you haven’t got a clue!!

When I speak do you wander in your mind to your secret place,

Nod and smile, but you’re gone without a trace. 

Do you know what anxiety is? 

Can you recognise it? 

Can you see it in a child as they cower from the clouds,

sudden movements, a chill, the shade, a noise that’s too loud? 

Do you even see it, or is she so very quiet you just leave her be? 

If she cried and she screamed and she stamped her feet,

If she ripped her work and kicked her seat,

Would you help her then? 

Would you scour books with paper and pen? 

Would you be afresh with ideas to help my young girl,

Could YOUR understanding of anxiety, change HER world?
Karen Hayward ©2016

Fear of unknown proportions. 

The soul knows what the mind forgets. 

I watch you standing at the window as rain streams ferociously down the glass 

I watch as unknown terrors become a remembered whisper. 

As your soul envelopes your heart slowing the rapid beat into a rhythmic lullaby.

Your eyes flash brighter than any lightening as a smile creeps across your face. 

Your fear washed into the drains as flash floods create an explosion of giggles.

“This is cool, mum”.  You say as the skies rumble,

Not their fear inducing rumble 

Just a rumble. 

You catch raindrops on your hand as we search for the rainbow,

Never before has that arch of beauty felt so magical then in this moment.

Karen Hayward ©2016 (images and words)

Dauntless.

Today I am reminded of the time when you asked me, can you be a member of dauntless.

Your every tear that falls
falls in me too.
As your soul fights to be brave
mine is torn apart.
Today your heart feels so very dark.
So how can I tell you…
Your heart is beating too fast,
and every sound is louder than the last.
There’s a swarm of bees in your body
That can’t break free.
Your legs hurt
Your arms hurt
Your skin hurts
Your soul hurts.
Tears are caught on your tongue
and all you want is mum.
But instead you are at school
But instead you are at school.

KH. ©2016

Storms raging through the night.

*Anxiety. The fear my daughter feels in regards to the storm has nothing to do with the storm itself and everything to do with her neurological conditions. The storm startles her which causes her body to involuntarily move, this lack of control over her movement causes her body, or specifically the anxiety gland…otherwise known as Tony Stark in our house to produce a chemical that floods through her body sending her into survival mode…fight or flight.

However the fear I feel in regards to storms has everything to do with watching my gran and mum run around switching of electricity, taking out hair pins, safety pins and me somehow getting the idea that lightening will search you out and come crashing through the windows to get you. My fear is never helped by the sound of fire engines whizzing through the streets a storm passes through.

I search along the mantel piece behind the bed for the red numbers , cursing that my body clock can tell time better than I can. I’m half aware of the deep rumble that penetrated my dream and lay in bed for a moment listening to the soft hum of nothing. Satisfied that I can hear no rain, no thunder I get up. As I pass the hallway window I spot the rain twinkling in the moonlight and then the skies alight. Counting my own heartbeats I pray for double figures. Fourteen then the rumble that echoes that vibrates. The rain continues to fall as a shushed lullaby from a mother’s lips. I wonder can storm clouds sense fear are they irrational atoms?  I climb back into the bed and lay motionless on the slither of mattress my daughter permits me. I listen to her breathe unaware of the storm that forms above her. The heavens open and rain plays a chaotic beat against our roof. I can hear the padding feet of our older cat as he storms along the hall and ceremoniously slams into the bed meowing into the night skies his deep warning to all that this is his territory and he will guard it with his life. He spends the rest of the night at her side growling at the stormy clouds and nudging her with his head every time she stirs. He is an old and grumpy cat, he is her knight. I watch the numbers on the clock change and count my way into single digits, I need to sleep, so on my slither of mattress I pull the covers above my head and listen to the rain.

6am and I am simultaneously pulled from my dream by the rumbling skies and the scream of “Mummy, did you hear that!” Her little voice shaking, I am awake, Whiner the cat is awake we comfort her together. He spills dribble across her hands as I lay kisses on her forehead. I scramble desperately to reach the headphones before the next rumble breaks through the angry storm filled atoms. Her fear is real it snakes through her like poison. With each crash of cloud with each flash her body reacts without permission. Her fear escalates her voice shakes and the tears are evident in every word. Two weeks of fear have been building to this moment, two weeks of checking weather reports two weeks of constantly needing to know will it thunder today, Mum? We are still battling the aftermath of yesterday’s anxiety attack as she should had stood motionless in the school field unable to stop the tears.

The rain is slowing to a soft lullaby and day has broken the flashes pass by almost unseen. The crashes of thunder sending her heart racing each time. I am no longer scared if the lightening or he thunder. I am Mum, I am scared of nothing.

Karen Hayward ©2016.

I’m sorry but not sorry.

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I’m sorry, my beautiful darling I’m sorry that I pushed your boundaries beyond the scope you see. I’m sorry. Take my heart and place it inside your chest and I will beat a calming lullaby for you to mimic as you travel through your school day. Take my whispers and place them tickling against your ear and hear me as I sing to you songs of love and wisdom. Take my hand and feel it fingers entwined with yours my grip tight, you are mine, you are never alone. Take my hand. I’m sorry your body and mind is screaming a chaotic melody that is tip tapping, tip tapping in the blood that rushes through your veins. I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry my beautiful girl. The London underground is torture for most, I’m not sorry. Changes occur daily, I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry. The unknown scares man more than any other thing in this universe and you faced it bravely…I’m not sorry. I’m sorry, I’m sorry there were staircases at every turn I’m sorry one was spiralled. I’m certainly not sorry that you faced each set with the courage of a lioness. I’m sorry your panic bubbled inside your heart and simmered in your blood. I’m not sorry that you trusted me, I’m never sorry that you trust me. I’m sorry escalators were our final and only choice, I’m sorry you broke, I’m sorry tears fell, I’m sorry your heart hurt from beating. My beautiful girl I am not sorry it happened. I’m sorry you had to walk to the top of a switched off escalator that ran through a tunnel and reached to the skies, dear God I am sorry. I’m sorry I wasn’t allowed to walk with you, I was feet away and felt each stab as the knife plunged into my soul with each step. I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry that I met you at the top, your eyes filled with fear your arms shaking, your legs like jelly. And there the glint of hope, the glint of bravery, the glint of excitement…I am not sorry, you did it, I am not sorry.
I’m sorry, school is again upon us and you are tired, anxiety is bubbling and the world us too bright, too loud and too much. You survived engineering work on the London underground….you got this my beautiful lioness.

Karen Hayward ©2016

Structural devastation.

I have to give you back to school today,
but I hope/know deep down you will be okay.
I have to watch you as your smile fades,
As we layer clothes in a sensory haze.
I have to watch as you wring your hands,
Going through and through again the morning plans.
I have to listen as your panic sets in,
Whilst you scream and shout, you can’t find that thing.
Clothes hanging ready to wear,
Carefully selected so you know i care,
Shoes polished and shining bright,
I’ll pop them on, it’s one less fight.
We’ll leave early, drag our feet,
So hard to watch when I can see you’re beat.
A lunchtime note of love and.kisses,
a moments thought so you know i’m missing.
It starts afresh with rules to learn,
as adrenalin makes your body burn,
Heavy arms and heavy legs
It only takes a tiny sec.
I’ll kiss your hand and kiss your cheek,
It’s always hardest,
In that first week!

Karen Hayward ©2016.

write about five blessings in your life. 30 day writing challenges.

Write about five blessings in my life 🙂

  1. Oh my number one blessing is my daughter. She’s a child with needs and I could sit here and whack a label on her and most people would sit back and think oh yeah, I get that, i’ve read about that she must be like this or that…but I wont, because she isn’t. Instead let me tell you why from the second she was created inside of me she has been my blessing. Firstly it took over two years to conceive her, she was very much a wanted child and I discovered I was pregnant a couple of weeks after celebrating our one year wedding anniversary. You know within the first day whether you have given birth to a sleeper or an awaker, I had myself a sleeper, 23 hours a day for the first week, each week she slept less and i got to enjoy her even more. As she grew, I grew along side her, because for the first time someone needed me to be more than I believed I could I be. I did it for her not because she needed me to be the best mum I could be, I did it because I needed to be the best mum I could. She grew and grew and grew some more and on the one side the older she became the more obvious it was that she had extra needs (she barely spoke for the first five years…now you cannot shut her up!) People often ask me if I am aware of how different she is, no, not really, everything I do for her is a natural response to her. Sometimes though when it’s been a long day and she’s called me into her bedroom for the hundredth time because she needs a blankie that is right there next to her, I do think dear God, somebody please help me! But otherwise no. But the truth is she is eight, and still needs the same level of support and guidance you might give a five year old. She has to be prompted every step, every instruction has to be broken down, and I am constantly on guard for the type of language used around her (she takes hings literally!) just the other day we had a funny moment,

Me “You only ate a couple of mouth fulls, I need you to eat more.”

Her “You little liar!”…she then bursts into tears!

The reason for the tears was that she thought I had been calling her a liar, she thought (and rightfully, as it was a bad choice of words) that I had said she had only eaten two (a couple) mouth fulls of dinner!

She has something called Gravitational Insecurities (yeah I know I said no labels!) it basically means she has a fear of movement, if it moves it causes her extreme anxiety. Just take a moment to look around you and think about how much movement occurs naturally and constantly around you, just stop and think about the very beating of your heart, the constant drumming the constant movement. Everything causes her anxiety. And yet every single day she comes pounding along the hallway with the biggest smile on her face as she bravely faces each new day. Yes the world might scare her, but no she isn’t ready to admit defeat. She is braver than any adult I know.

She is amazingly innocent. She has a heart that is capable of so very much and constantly she is able to see good and happiness around her. She smiles even when inside she is breaking, she sings when her entire body is screaming in fear, she tries even when the mind is pleading with her that she can’t. She has shown me more beautiful things in this world than any body else. She is my blessing.

  1. My family, yeah I know, I know we all say it our family is a blessing.  But the reality is a I had a childhood that could have been very different to the one I had. The choices made when I was a toddler ensured that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I often think myself lucky now as an adult when I see people around me declaring they hate their mum or dad or sibling. You see yes we argue, but we are always there for each other. Yes we disagree but we always have each others back and yes sometimes words get slung around but we never stoop so low to actually be spiteful and hurt one another. It seems to be a rarity these days. I am blessed to have my family.
  2. I am blessed that somewhere along the female genetic maternal line there is this huge streak of female creativity. A streak that comes more natural than anything I have ever felt, and although growing up outside of the maternal home I didn’t get to experience it growing up I have now discovered it and I am blessed because of it.
  3. I am blessed to live in a society where my opinions don’t get me arrested. I sometimes wonder I would survive living in a society that dictated her I should be, this thought scares me.
  4. I am blessed that along the paths I chose to take when growing up I clearly had an angel or two watching over me. Without them I do not know where I would have ended up. Thank you.

Karen Hayward ©2015.