Did you have a nice summer?
It used to be one of those questions I’d dread being asked.
Mostly because my feeble response (probably including some grunting and gurning) would more than likely be perceived as rather glum (nothing new there then, eh? *winks*)
I couldn’t lie and fluff it (rarely can!) and enthuse over the previous 6 weeks and completely skip over the fact that I was TOTALLY and UTTERLY exhausted – both physically and emotionally – and was extremely glad the summer was over.
Sounds bonkers wishing my life away, doesn’t it?
…but I was simply drained.
You see, life didn’t stop just because it was summer and there was no school. We didn’t spend all our time in some glorious place (aka Cornwall); enjoying lazy, carefree days and cosying up under a blanket whilst sat on the beach, watching the sunset on a calm summers evening.
Oh no! That’s not how we rolled.
Life went on; Hannah’s appointments went on. Random illnesses went on. Supporting Hannah in adjusting to that dramatic change in routine went on. Getting up in the night went on. Self-harm went on. Responding to letters/appointments and speaking to professionals went on. Reflux went on. Grown-up-responsibility-type-things had to go on. Bathing, dressing, cooking, feeding, nappy changes all went on (I’m sure you get my drift. I’ll stop now. You’re welcome). Very little changed…apart from the fact that my spine became significantly more aware that it was required to sustain even more lifting, handling and carrying of a strong, incredibly wiggly child who had/still has no concept of hers and others’ safety.
Sure, there were trips out; more so than in school time. But that isn’t by any means whatsoever having ‘a rest’ when you’re caring for a child with additional needs…and that ideology should only ever be considered by a fool.
We tried going away on holiday. But holidays in peak times weren’t even a rest either.
In fact, we’ve learned to avoid summer holidays as, wherever we’d go (Cornwall…obvs!), there’d be too many people around and too much sensory overload for Hannah to feel relaxed. And if she’s not enjoying herself, then we’re not. Simples! Throw in the aforementioned getting up in the night, random illnesses, reflux, bathing, dressing, feeding blah, blah, blah that we have at home (all that stuff doesn’t just stop when you go on holiday!) minus all the gubbins (things) at home that make life a little bit easier e.g. changing beds/shower chairs etc and it’s a wonder why any families with children who have additional needs go anywhere at all….ever!
All that stuff sounds a bit negative, doesn’t it?
I can’t even apologise…because it is what it is.
But what I did get to see over those holidays, were those little ‘awakenings’ (for want of a better word). Someone described her recently as being like a flower…blossoming over the summer. There’s always been some (albeit tiny) growth spurt. In addition, there’ve been those glimmers in her development/cognition where something new happens…and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss those for the world. You can’t buy that stuff!
So, has this year been any different?
Well, it was okay, actually.
It seems to have flown by, though. The fact that Hannah went into hospital shortly after the end of term and her subsequent recovery most probably had an impact.
The weather has been rubbishly inconsistent – to the point where one minute we’re wearing sweaters and wellies, dodging a cloudburst/hailstorm and digging out the hot water bottle/switching on the central heating and the next we’re reaching for the sun cream, scared that Hannah’s skin would turn lobster-like…bonkers! Although I DO have perspective…there’s other places in the world where the weather has, sadly, been catastrophic. So whilst I am British and it’s in my DNA to complain about the weather, I can’t complain, really.
Again, this summer, life went on. Hannah’s appointments went on. Grown-up-responsibility-type-stuff went on. Dressing, bathing, feeding blah blah blah all went on….as did keeping a small, active person who has no concept of her own safety, alive…and away from the A &E Department (Blimey, have I tempted fate there? Btw, for our lovely friends across the pond, A&E is the equivalent of the ER…but with a 4 hour wait to be seen…probably)
And whilst we haven’t had a holiday at all this year (the wait for Hannah’s date for surgery put paid to that *sigh*) we had lots of trips to the seaside and the park. Hannah even managed not to eat the fish pellets whilst feeding the Koi carp…YAY! (Although she did try to bash one on the head when it bobbed up close…not a good move Hannah! *looks stern*).
We opt for places that aren’t too busy, that we can escape from easily, as I’d rather chew my own leg off than traipse around a packed zoo or whatnot with Hannah in her buggy or wheelchair – feeling invisible, whilst everyone walks RIGHT IN FRONT of her or she’s actually unable to see very much because everyone else is at risk of impaling themselves on the railings/squashed up to the glass, for an opportunity to gawp at the animals doing nothing for the next 50 minutes!
We actually cleared a playground not so long ago, though. I think the other parents thought we were contagious and ushered their precious poppets away. It was GREAT!!…we had the whole playground to ourselves!!! We weren’t even wearing our cow bells around our necks and I wasn’t shouting “unclean, unclean” and handing out clove covered oranges that day!
…I just popped Hannah on a swing.
Funfairs are also one of my worst nightmares.
…as are soft play areas, trampoline centres, small animal farms, the cinema…or actually anywhere confined…with people.
(Lordy, we’re sounding like we’re complete recluses!)
We did celebrate birthdays and spend days with family and friends though…which was lovely.
…and again, there’ve been those tiny glimmers in Hannah’s development; being a little calmer and concentrating when we did crafts or baked, watching some TV – HOORAY! FINALLY!!! (although I’m still a bit gutted I can’t use it as an electronic babysitter), biting into an apple – not something most people would think is a big deal…it is for us! Being a little more receptive…oh, and not eating the sand in her sandpit. Always a bonus!
…although the getting up in the night at completely random times has been OFF. THE. SCALE this summer…mummy is really not impressed, Hannah. Not impressed AT ALL. Believe it or not sweetheart, my eardrums don’t delight in hearing a whole box of Lego being tipped on the floor at 4.20am…and I doubt they ever will!
And whilst this summer’s been busy and I remain absolutely shattered, still in dire need of an effective LONG rest, still have back ache, still my usual moany (but honest!) self…I got to spend it with my girl.
Adieu Summer. You’ve been okay this year…aside from the weather. Try and make the next one a good one, will you…and less wet?
So, that’s all for now my lovelies. Hope you had a lovely summer
Thanks, as always, for stopping by
Until next time