Social media types are often accused of painting life with a rosy glow, well here's some cold hard reality from us. I don't do the super personal stuff very often, but once in a while a bit of catharsis helps!
The last few months of 2016 were damn hard for us, with miscarriage, car crash, family death and more. Just keeping our heads above water has been a real struggle, but we were determined to start 2017 with a positive attitude and to make the most of everything we do have, not least our beautiful little family of 5 (10). Unfortunately, the first days of the new year have seen yet more criticism, more problems and more tears.
How do you explain to a 5 year old that no, they haven't had a birthday card or present from such and such a person? Last year, like her 3 year old sister in December, she didn't notice. This year she asked of several people, "Has xxx sent me a card?" Some of them arrived a couple of days later, some still nothing. Friends, Godparents, grandparents, their birthdays are 4th January, 25th February and 13th December, every year.*
How do you explain to a 6 year old who doesn't see age, gender, race, colour, disability that most of the world sees difference, and pigeonholes or divides accordingly. How do you explain that she won't be invited to a party because she is younger/older than the birthday child and/or the wrong gender?
How do you explain that age, gender, race, colour, and most of all disability, put up barriers, that they create pigeonholes, 'can't play with's, even wars, and that it starts so very young.
How do you explain to a special needs child that the reason we don't see someone any more is probably because she had a meltdown or acted outside behavioural norms the last time we saw them, or the time before that?
How do you explain to her that no, the child she just met in soft play/the playground and had a nice time playing with probably can't come to our house/have a party/come to a sleepover, because we don't know them well enough. "I do," she says, "His/her name is xxx and they're 4/7/10." Followed by several facts about them, and the words that floor me every time: "S/he's going to be my best friend."
How do you explain why there are tears in your eyes, or dropping on your keyboard as you type?
How do you convince yourself that the choices you have made for your family are the right ones when nearly everyone is telling you you're wrong? How do you find decent people who understand, who don't judge, who are thoughtful, who turn up and keep turning up, even when it's tough?
Let me know.
* Thanks to those who do remember, and thank you Paul for making her day [week] so extra special - and always turning up!