Tuesday 22 May 2012

Spontaneous Combustion


This is a wonderful phrase (and the title of a play I believe) which I have coined many a time during my adult life. It's not so much that I wish to get OFF, more that it would be nice if the world would just kindly slow down a little, or perhaps even stop for long enough for me to a) make a cup of tea b) allow me to drink it without the usual reheating (twice) and c) perhaps even let me SIT to drink it? 

I am supremely grateful that years ago, when I had one small not-so-demanding child no one told me that I should enjoy the (relative) calm I then enjoyed. Working full-time as a single parent, going to bed at midnight after marking books and preparing lessons, waking to transfer washing to tumble drier (yes, they've ALL had reflux...) at 2am and then finally up at 6am for work I felt as if I was at times struggling to keep the plates spinning. Little did I know then that it was but an oh-so-gentle introduction into the world of additional needs, not even close to the "extreme parenting" I seem to have to hit the ground running with on a daily basis now.

Most of the time it's fine, and fun. Hard work but exactly, totally and utterly what I was made for, I *need* busy like most people need air. And Jelly Snakes... definitely Jelly Snakes too. I thrive on being insanely, frantically busy - but only when I feel in control. Just as well really, considering. The problem with living life on the edge however, is that you have to cling on tight when you get to the hair-pin bends. The moments when the incline suddenly becomes a vertical ascent, which (just for kicks) you have to scale blindfolded with a deafening roar in your ears. I hate those bits.

My sense of humour failed me this week, it's been a full-on month with a lot of highs, good bits to remember, and a load of "stuff" I could really have done without. One good thing about being ridiculously overly-busy is that you can lost the long term perspective and keep your head down. Not much choice really when the here and now takes every ounce of energy and focus to be honest. It IS a useful survival mechanism though and I have used it many times to my advantage, volunteering the few spare minutes I have to others or considering crazy plans such as satisfying my daughter's desperate need for a dog - or even feeling guilty that I am still a full time mum when the children are at school - and maybe I really should consider getting a job. The busier I am the less time I have to ponder the future.

I think that is what has made this past week so difficult. In so many ways I am being forced to look ahead, and I don't have the time or emotional capacity to deal with it right now. There is no need to fill spare minutes to fix myself stubbornly in the present - there are no spare minutes and the future I must face.

Firstly there is the start of the planning process for H's transition to High School. He's only entering Year 6 this September but we have Multi Agency Meetings, Annual Statement Reviews and more with SENCOs and teachers. Transferring a child totally dependent on full time 1:1 support to stay in school  -and hopefully have a positive experience there - is no walk in the park. Ideally I would like to give him and his future my undivided attention... but that isn't possible. We also have quite an important review at GOSH for the twins next week - neither is that well right now and neither can continue as they are long term. More decisions, more.... *thinking*.

Added to all that my parents have FINALLY exchanged contracts and are moving house next week. This is GOOD news, no complaints there, but it has definitely precipitated a few feelings and emotions I am struggling with. They are leaving the house I grew up in, it has been their home for 47 years and my Home with a capital "H" since I came home from hospital at a week old. Twice we have returned as a family to camp on floors whilst waiting to move ourselves, it is where a piece of me most certainly will always be. It is one of the most special places in the world to me, saying goodbye will be a huge wrench. I don't do moving on very well....I think in many ways the past is always more attractive than the unknown future!

So once again I find myself thinking how perfect it would be if I could just press pause for a while, to allow my brain the necessary time and space to process so many thoughts and emotions. But I guess that was never the life I signed up for, and probably not the kind of life I would ever choose either. (There would be at least a couple of dogs resident here and a job application in the post by the end of next week if someone did find that button.) So I am hoping I can find the inner strength to get me through the next couple of weeks (and my poor parents as they move!) and hope I don't spontaneously combust along the way! Normal is way too overrated anyway....


  1. Awww Kate, it must be difficult on every front. Although I would say that you can have bits of your own life too, you just make it work (hey I've got 2 dogs, 3 cats and ridiculous amounts of chickens and my three). I'm not saying that it makes life easier, it doesn't but it gives me something else to focus on when the SEN/medical stuff all seems too much. Your life has to be important too x

  2. I feel your pain, with back to back meetings for my two with special needs and my eldest heading to Africa at the weekend! I'm trying to choose a secondary school for my son with Aspergers and am terrified of making the wrong decision, it's tough, hope things calm down for you soon x


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