Childcare 1, my family makes me happy

One thing that’s been very hard for me has been continuing to fulfil my role as mum to my two fantastic kids. Even more than my role as partner, this has been the one I have ached to fulfil more completely.

A couple of days ago I managed to get up to my big girls room to do some tidying. This cracking four year old has pretty much kept her own room tidy for ages now. She does a pretty good job, but she does need some grown up help. Frankly, her dad’s a bit rubbish at sorting out what is a dress up thing rather than a drawers thing, and which handbag goes where. To him, it just looks like an amorphous mass of girl’s stuff. The kind of girl’s stuff years of indoctrination by mother, sister and successive friends and girlfriends screams it is exactly the sort of stuff he must not touch. But I digress.

I was happily sorting out her princess dolls into their bag homes with their correct shoes etc. #clairesbaby was happily chewing on some drumsticks (not chicken, actual drumsticks for drumming with) and it struck me for a moment just how bloody lucky I am. When ever I go out, I now get the following options in terms of the reactions of the general public.

1) aren’t you looking well?
This is where they gasp in amazement that I’ve bothered top get dressed and put lippy on before going to church. They seem unable to comprehend that they rarely see me because I am rarely dressed with lippy on and able to go to church. They believe that if you’re in a wheelchair you’re sick.

2) you’re getting around so much better!
This is an annoying way they have of informing me that their medical expertise and general knowledge of how these things work tells them exactly how much longer I’ll be needing the wheelchair. Sometimes, they are quite insistent that I won’t need it after, say, a month. They see the brief period out, not the preparation and recovery time that all spoonies spend each side of any activity.

3) it’s so good to see you up and about nowadays!
They find it incomprehensible that I am both out in public and still not just better. They like to believe that now they’ve seen me around that they could bump into me any day in the supermarket or at the vets. Certainly, they feel I’m not still housebound, certainly, I now have a solution to all the problems I first wept about all those months ago.

4) helping me to death
they are so solicitous I want to thump somebody. They ask
Them “are you all right here? I could push you over there?”
Me “But the kids would have to be here, I’m fine here, really I am.”
Them “Are you sure? *turns to partner for second opinion* Is she sure? Because I could push her over there. It’s no trouble, really.”
Me “No, no, I’m really much happier here, thank you. If I want to move, then I’ll move. But right now, I’m happier here.”
Them “Are you sure? You don’t want me to push you to the front? In front of all the pews?”
Me *thinks* ‘Are you kidding? I’d rather stay here at the back and look at everybody’s heads than be at the front and having them all behind me and watching me!!’
Me “no, I can see fine here! Let’s chat later?”

But, the point is, they may find all this alarming and strange and a bit scary and socially awkward but our little family has stayed strong. We have pulled together to get through our daily troubles. The kids are learning about how diversity enriches their life experiences. Big girl is great at explaining how mummy is. And she is growing in independence daily because of the extra responsibility she has been given. I am learning how patient and kind my partner can be, despite his gruff persona. I’m learning how to ask for support when I need it, and how to remain pleasant despite the pain. I’ll get back to you when I’ve cracked that one. My partner is learning how lucky he is to have three females to look after and who think he is their rock. Baby loves that she has had mummy’s full attention every day of her life. She hasn’t missed out at all because of the lack of toddler groups, we do so much cool stuff together at home.

You may not know this about me but I am a bit stubborn and independent. It isn’t always a good thing to be like this. It doesn’t make me happy to not need anyone for anything. It makes me happy to know that they are with me, no matter what. And I didn’t know that about myself.

Has your disability helped you appreciate your life? And if so, how? Please share with me!

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