Previously when I've returned to my home town I've felt uncomfortable, this time I didn't.
I left the town where I grew up around 9 years ago, and now live about 200 miles west. I've gone back several times to visit family and have always felt a bit uncomfortable. I think amongst other things I was concerned about bumping into people that I didn't want to see.
However, this time it was different. We stayed in a hotel in Southend, a place where I used to take the children during the school holidays, and it brought back happy memories.
I used to take the kids to watch the Southend air show every year, they were happy times. The three of us, and my parents.
I then went into Basildon town centre; that's where I used to get anxious about bumping in to people. But this time, I felt relaxed, probably because Rob was with me.
I went to what used to be Allders, now Debenhams. I used to bring the kids in to town to meet my Mum and have lunch in Allders. That period of my life was very happy. It seemed to be sunny all the time, I'd get on the bus with 2 kids and a pushchair and just mooch around town with my Mum, it was lovely.
I even found myself looking at the other young mums with pushchairs, wondering if I knew them. Of course, I soon realised that actually I was more likely to have known the Grandma than the young Mum, as I'm 47 and not 23 which is how I was remembering myself.
Where has the last few years gone? It seems like only yesterday when I was packing up the house in Corringham, preparing to start my new life, yet it also seems like a different life time ago.
My 'kids', who I still picture as babies in prams, are both now in their twenties, but when I think of them I imagine they are still totally dependant on me! Of course that's not the case, they are in fact both independent, mature, centred young people with their own jobs, plans and futures.
I'm glad I'm no longer anxious about meeting people that I'd rather avoid. If it happens I'll deal with it (as long as I have Rob with me of course). I didn't do anything wrong, or anything to be ashamed of. In fact the people I'm referring to should look at themselves and consider how they behaved. I wonder if their consciences are clear? Whether they are or not is now irrelevant to me, I couldn't care less; after all that was exactly how they treated me; they didn't care when I needed them!
Please don't think I'm angry, I'm not! I'm just rationalising my memories.