Sometimes I have this dreamy notion: that I can do anything. Achieve everything. On my own. Without anybody’s intervention or support.
Whilst writing this, I imagine me…stood boldly upon my 2 wheeled horse drawn chariot (maybe like the one’s they had in some magnificent epic Hollywood film, like Ben Hur – but my chariot would have to look a bit kitschy, with a few sparkly bits, obviously!). Galloping through the streets, clad in some ridiculously extravagant Boudicca-esque battle attire, my child safely and deliriously happily tucked under one arm, the reins and a trident grasped in the other hand which (although initially intended solely for dramatic effect) could potentially be used to prod anyone who came in the way of, or ever doubted or offended my child. I wouldn’t prod too hard though, honest! Erm, well, it might actually depend on what mood I’m in at the time…especially if I’m a bit hormonal! (I’m kidding, btw, honest!). Mind you, I’d have a bit of a problem where to put my mobile, the shopping, my handbag and Hannah’s changing bag, her toys, her wheelchair and all manner of other stuff. Plus, horses don’t come equipped with sat nav’s, so, I think it’s perhaps best if I stuck to using the car and leave the steed and chariot at home. For now, at least *wink*.
But you know what? Whilst it might be a rather lovely concept to imagine civilisation stuffed to the brim with us multi-tasking Super-mama’s of the feminist sisterhood, I simply have to acknowledge that I can’t always do things on my own. Sometimes I need some help and perhaps someone to hold my hand or some strong arms to give me a reassuring hug. Not always, but every now and again.
So, there’s other people travelling with Hannah and I on this journey of ours…
Menfolk!!! *gasps in horror*…
And it’s about time I ‘bigged them up’.
By menfolk, I mean anyone who’s a man (obviously!), who’s made a difference to our lives…whether they be blood related or not.
It’s my opinion that menfolk can (and do often) play a crucially important role – possibly more so, when you have a child with additional needs. And I may be wrong when I say this, but, I feel that sometimes they don’t seem to get enough acclaim.
So here’s my (probably dreadfully inarticulate, but who cares!) attempt at raising their profile and ‘bigging them up’…
Now, in addition to being rather handy around the house by fixing things, carrying things, reaching high-up things, gently rescuing hysterical moths the size of a small bird from frying themselves on your bathroom lights at 3am when you’ve gone to the loo and simply can’t go back to sleep because it might migrate to your bedroom and fly into your mouth when you’re in bed and choke you until you’re dead…AAAANND…BREATHE…(phew, that was a long sentence wasn’t it?), menfolk have many, many more attributes…
As many of you’ll know, when you become a parent, your adult relationships tend take on a different dimension. This vulnerable, dependent little bundle of gorgeousness has now arrived, who requires (and sometimes DEMANDS!) your constant care and attention, ergo your relationship with your partner and other special people in your life tends to have to take a back seat. This too can sometimes (but not always) be a difficult time for dads or other menfolk who may often begin to feel a little obsolete. But they’re not. Not by any means. And I hope you menfolk know that, even if we don’t say it or show it.
When you become a parent of a child with additional needs, then, in my opinion, it takes your relationships (marital, partnerships, friendships etc) to yet another different dimension again. Possibly due to the fact that there are additional stresses to factor into this too – like hospitals, appointments, tests, treatments, the emotional rollercoasters, lack of time, stress, sleepless nights, fear, shall I go on? Nope, thought not.
So, menfolk and womenfolk are biologically different – fact.
However, we do have quite a few things in common, believe it or not.
So, here’s (some of) my take on the menfolk in mine and Hannah’s lives…
- They can cry until there’s no tears left inside them. Just like we do.
- They can get anxious and stressed and fear for the future. Just like we do.
- Their hearts ache with pride just to see their child master a new skill. Just like ours do.
- They love their children. Just as much as we do.
- They have aspirations. Just like we do.
- They can be just as emotionally vulnerable as we are.
- They would do anything to help their child achieve. Just like we do.
- They may not always express their emotions like we do…but their hearts can hurt and they despair just as intensely. Of that, I have absolutely no doubt.
- After a long shift at work and a ridiculous journey home, menfolk can often read ‘the look’ on their partners face as soon as they walk through the door. By ‘the look’ I mean the look that requires no words. It’s the look that says one or a few of the following: I’ve had THE most dreadful/stressful/worrisome day, I need a bath, I need to eat, I just need some ‘me time’, I feel unwell, I don’t feel like me anymore, or whatever. Menfolk then know to drop their bags at the door, swiftly put on their knight in shining armour outfit and take over the care of the child, whilst mama makes attempts to recharge her batteries.
- They can fill their shopping basket with your maternity pads, sore nipple cream or other feminine products as though they’ve been doing it all their lives and without even batting an eyelid and minus even a hint of embarrassment. *swoon*
- They can do the household chores; the cooking, the shopping, the ironing – just like we do. YES! Honestly. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that they can do it even better (than me!).
- They can carry out fiddly tasks and master 2am naso-gastric feeds just to give us a break – and even if they have hands the size of shovels!.
- They can spend hours tucked away in their sheds, only to re-emerge after creating something really thoughtful/useful for the kid in their life.
- They’re very good at multitasking – nursing a poorly child whilst holding your hair out of the toilet basin and patting your back when you’ve been unfortunate enough to catch the stomach bug your child is suffering from…only to find that the following day (and much to their chagrin), despite their willingness to come to the aid of both a child and a damsel in distress, they too have succumbed to the aforementioned viral infection. Ew!
- They can get fiercely defensive and annoyed at the people who lack the social skills to stare discreetly…as opposed to actually doing it blatantly. Yes, feel free to look at my child, I’m happy to share her beauty…but that look you just gave lasted a little too long, or you took a double take, or you got FAR too close for comfort and unfortunately it then turned into a stare. We DO notice, you know!
- They have very good observational skills (when they want to!) – Although comments such as ‘Hannah’s umbilical cord looked like the biggest Cumberland sausage he’d ever seen’ has, actually, put me off sausages for life! Well, can you blame me?
- Menfolk (like Hannah’s grandpa) may be too frail to hold their granddaughters, but their look of adoration, their daily prayers, their thoughtfulness, their optimism and belief, makes up for that, tenfold.
- They can make you feel human again – even when you thought you’d lost yourself.
- They take pleasure from the simplest of things.
- They make you laugh and they’ll drive you completely potty.
- They would do anything and sacrifice everything for their kid…just like us.
So ladies, are you with me on this? Shall we ‘big up’ all of our menfolk?…let’s celebrate the daddies, the grandpa’s, the stepfathers, the men friends and ALL the special men in ours and our children’s lives.
Feel free to ‘big up’ your own menfolk and give them a nice mention in our comments box…
Let’s ‘big them up’ and love them whilst we have them…even though many of them seem to have an aversion to putting their clothes INSIDE the washing basket!
(What IS that all about?)
Right lovely people, that’s all for now.
Thanks SO much for stopping by.
Oooh, before I go, if you’ve not visited yet, then feel free to head over to facebook and find us on our sparkly brand new page – just search for My Kid Loves Broccoli. We’d love you to come and join us and you’ll be able to view my posts from there too.
Have a very Happy Valentine’s Day…and if you’ve no-one to hug, then have this one from us (((hug)))
(I did this myself – clever, huh?)
Until next time…
This post is dedicated to ALL the menfolk in mine and Hannah’s life who’ve made a difference…no matter what that difference is.
There’s no need to name names – they’ll know who they are.
I love you all. More than you’ll ever know.
Scrumptious photo courtesy of the extremely talented, multi award winning, down right lovely, Janet Broughton Photography. Thanks Janet xx
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