I had a post half written for today about how a week off with A, just me and her, ended up being a ‘so so’ week. Despite my excitement for having so much time off with her, the week was neither exciting nor very eventful. I was in the midst of complaining in my half written post about how my unplanned week could have been much better if I planned and organised some fun and memorable things for me and A to do together. This has been a rare solo few days for us as B was working all week and I feel as though I have in a way wasted the days. This morning, however, my thoughts for this post changed. I gained a little perspective.
Once again B and I tackled the lawn as soon as breakfast was eaten and a scalding hot cup of coffee was thrown down our throats- the lawn godammit we could have sworn we only cut it two weeks ago – what is with grass growing so quick!? Anyway, B decided to mow the lawn in front of our house on the road which adjoins on to our neighbours property. As he finished, our neighbour came out to thank B for mowing that part of the grass. He usually cuts it during the week when we’re in work but he couldn’t manage it this week as he’s just had a hernia operation.
As we all chatted and A hid behind my leg, as is the norm these days since shyness kicked in, we complained about the birds which seem to have nested in the eaves of our house. Our neighbour showed us from his back garden how the birds were getting in which is really helpful for when I have the roofer out next week – happy days. But theres no point in me or B trying to sort something like this out ourselves. Remember our dance with a power cut? As we passed the front of their house we could see their son being dressed in the front room.
Our neighbour invited us in to say hello to his wife. Since moving to the countryside eight months ago we’ve had little opportunity to talk to many on the road due to work, bad weather and also the wonderful privacy we have from other houses around us. We’ve spoken to this couple on only a handful of occassions but already we know that they are generous,caring people and a loving couple. I’m really enjoying getting to know them.
Now let me give you a bit of perspective on this couple.
They are in their mid sevenites and have already started doting over A like a grandchild. They have two adopted sibling boys and their biological son is 43 years old and has a learning disability. He has the mental age of a three or four year old. Seeing them with him is heartwarming. He’s a gentle soul who gave me and B a warm and soft hug before we left the house. He laughed when A laughed and is a puzzlemaster. He sat at the kitchen table engrossed in a jigsaw puzzle joining in on the conversation every so often so as not to be left out. He shouted for attention in almost the same way our toddler did.
But his parents are in their seventies.
Their son is home from respite for a number of weeks over the summer and the strain is clearly showing in their faces. Despite their love for their son they don’t shy away from the fact that it is difficult to care for him. He is a grown man with a strength he is not aware of. He has developed a fear of water making washing difficult for his elderly parents. He suffers seizures and for peace of mind his parents now share a bedroom with him since last year. We talked about baby monitors which they use to watch their son. We talked about sleepless nights. It is as though they have lived their lives with a toddler. In fact for them that is just it. Our neighbour tied his sons shoes and rubbed his feet while we talked about the football. I put A’s pink wellies back on three times as she kept kicking them off. A counted to 16, their son counted to 11.
I will not pretend to know what life is like for families of special needs children and adults.
All I know is that we are blessed and I should be thankful. So my week with A was not perfect. We spent one day making a makeshift tent, probably the highlight of our week and I was making small of it. A loved it and thankfully only toppled it once – which I thought was great going with a two year old! I didn’t think she would be as enthusiastic about my makeshift tent but the excitement of bringing the dining room chairs into the sitting room and mummy finding an enormous blanket that appeared to pop up out of nowhere must have been worth it.
The rest of the week consisted of putting things on our heads and blurry selfies with a ‘no makeup, greasy haired’ Momma Bear and a ‘stained t-shirt, unkempt hair’ A, which momma certainly won’t share on her blog!
We delved into the world of Squishy Pops, Mashems and Fashems, which is by far A’s favourite game thanks to the Disney Cars Toy Show! I’m sure any parent who has let their toddler explore Kids YouTube for more than five minutes will have come across DCTC as its known to its 4 million YouTube fans. I secretly love DCTC and am a self confessed Bronie but that’s a post for another day!
So, my attitude changed today. I gained a little perspective. I realise I am blessed.
I am blessed to have had five full days off to share with my daughter regardless of how much fun I thought we should have versus how much fun we did have.
I am blessed that my toddler is strong and confident and growing well.
I am blessed that I have the opportunity to teach and see my daughter learn.
I am blessed that A will hold her arms up to me, smile, kiss my face and squeeze my neck in a loving hug.
I am blessed that my toddler is learning and thriving, can feed herself, drink from a cup and will give a half hearted attempt to wash herself.
I am blessed that she can communicate well with us and tell us what she wants.
This week I planned zilch zip zero!
Who cares. I got to enjoy my little girl. We played, we laughed, we tried out new things, we stuck with old reliables like buddling – check out buddling here if you’ve never heard it before. I’m glad I will be going back to work looking fondly back over my week off with A rather than dwelling on what I should or shouldn’t have done. I’m glad that I’ve gained a little perspective and realise that life is not always perfect but moments can be. I had plenty of perfect moments with A this week, in fact there have been plenty today alone.
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