Sometimes, your heart soars. Kids can do that to you. For all the toil there are moments that top everything.
Yesterday, I saw the day report Olive gets from the mainstream nursery she attends once a week. It’s short and simple, but it made me smile.
I expect every parent gets the jitters about the potential of their child ‘not fitting in’. The thought of Olive being left out as she grapples with the mainstream. It leaves me cold. Emotional dad stuff, yes. Baseless concern, probably. Real all the same, yep!
It’s that balance. You don’t want her to be treated any differently, but to just assume she can bus on as normal in a big blurry world isn’t right either. And kids take no prisoners. Have you seen a toddler birthday party in full swing. It’s a war zone!
Turns out that her new friend is a girl that had been shy and struggled a bit in her first week at nursery. When her mother came to pick her up and was shown her playing with Olive, she cried. All parents know those tears: part joy, part relief, part sleep deprivation and a sprinkle of PTSD.
To know that Olive is operating on her own. To know that she’s looking out for people. To get a steer that she’s alright and taking care of things in her own way. It’s a pocket of joy to keep in your pocket.
Having a child with special needs is like walking on a wobbly bridge. It requires extra concentration, demands greater effort and carriers more risk. The weight of weightless responsibility weighs heavy!
And that report had a bunch of things in it that Olive is struggling with, that she needs more help on…drawing shapes, copying objects, milestones and the like. But in her world, those things are inevitable. Reaching out to someone. Talking to them. Making a friend. That’s the good stuff. A fully-loaded human being doing human things! Knocking down the hurdles one by one.
I think this is really a note to all those parents on the wobbly bridge out there. The ones with kids that run just outside the pack, the kids that ask more without asking, that effortlessly take your thoughts to strange and unfamiliar places. Take heart. You’re only ever a day away from great things, soaring moments and all.
Olive’s ability to adjust to a mainstream nursery is in no small part down to the work of the RLSB nursery, which she still attends on a regular basis. They invest huge amounts of energy in preparing children for their next step. Years of experience and professional, considered programmes of development sit within the fun, play and assurance that make up the days at Dorton Nursery.
I am not running the London marathon this year. My knees. I asked them. They said no. But the RLSBs work is no less important to our family and the thinking caps are on as to how we can continue to raise money…just at a lower impact…with less sweat.
Do check out the website and see what the RLSB is up to. You may find Olive on the homepage. You may find her daddy, too. It’s a pic from the 2015 marathon. Look at the pain on his face. That’s why he’s a no show for 2016. No human should hurt that much three times on the bounce.