This time 4 years ago, we were in our car on that fateful journey to meet our children for the first time ever! And what a rollercoaster it has been. 1 nursery, 2 schools and now settled on the unsupported and advised against option of home education (and it’s actually working). 3 different houses (and now home owners, thank you indecent landords). Assessments, diagnoses, tantrums meltdowns, laughter, giggles, tears (happy and sad), an awakening of how unsupported we are (friends & family and professional) and an opening of a door to new, supportive relationships and friendships (and a couple of charities local to us that have helped immensely).
I am walking the tightrope over the pit of complete burnout constantly, the safety platforms are few and far between. If I falter I could fall in, so I cant get tired (yet I’m exhausted), I cant sit down (I must keep walking, carefully poised and perfectly balanced). Its a lot of pressure to be burdened with, but I must endure. We have the support now to make this almost possible, but if we could have just accessed this 2 years earlier, I dare say I wouldn’t be in this position. I could be so much more to my children than I am. Much more patient. Much more tolerant. But alas. We did not. I am not. And we are here.
However, I must (and do) recognise I am not failing as a mum:
– My children feel safe with me.
– I know my children so well, and am so in tune, I can read what’s about to happen and I respond in accordance with that
– my children aren’t capable of everything yet. But they are significantly more capable than when they first arrived to me
– I fought for therapy, it took the best part of 3 years I won and now they have it. (And sleeping tablets for the boy, and a wheelchair for the girl – similar fights). And it is all helping them as I knew it would… vbecause they needed it
– they are both now capable of playing with, rather than alongside other children
– they are both now reading proficiently, and learning actual academic work (not just me saying a practical activity they are doing in terms of its academic language e.g. collecting hangers and explaining them as number bonds, now they use IXL – an online curriculum – as a means to learn properly)
– they are both mostly expressing their own individual likes, and being their own individual people (oh believe me, there are times it’s hard not to regret their independence when its aimed at you directly) and not constantly just “liking” something to please others
– they have both reduced anxiety enough for their sensory system to enable them to regulate enough for them to be capable of recognising some bodily needs (like toileting, hunger, thirst, temperature) – pretty basic needs they should have learned as a baby/toddler, but things they were deprived of learning
– they are starting to be able to trust I will come back when I leave. Its baby steps, I may get an hour away from them with no repercussion, nothing more just yet, I may not even get an hour. But it was nothing before, this is one of the biggest steps we can be making.
It is so hard to measure and track where how far they (and we as a family) have come with how slow the progress is, and how often we have to side step. But if I sat down and really thought about it I would see. And deep down I know it would be significant. Looking back, despite all of the rubbish and hard times (and major lack of sleep), the only thing I would really change (if I had the powers) is how quickly they get therapeutic intervention arranged and how much I stand up for what I felt was right (instead of being scared Social Services would try and take the children back off me). Our hard times have been lengthened, worsened, or even created by this. And we could have been so much further forward in their healing if we didn’t have to waste so much time fighting for support. But I have done my job… and that’s all that matters.
Final word from the two that have made this possible… “what is the best thing about living in this family?”
Logan: having a great roof over my head (when asked to elaborate) it’s a nice house, he has nice stuff, but it’s also safe.
Caitlyn: Being with Mumma and Dadda… because I love them so much.