These past few weeks I’ve been quietly contemplating the future.
2015 is going to be a pretty MASSIVE year here, so big that I’m contemplating it 9 months in advance and I’m preparing myself for it.
The things that are taking place,
Paige turns 18!
Imogen turns 16!
Imogen leaves school.
Kyle starts secondary school!
Ben (my youngest and last baby) starts school!
I have made the decision that Paige will remain living with us & fate willing I’ll be looking after her well in to my old age. Paige’s mental capacity testing will start this year via social services and they will decide what they think she can and can’t be responsible for.
Imogen will be taking her GCSE’s with a view to going on to do A-Levels.
Kyle will be leaving the security of his very small primary and heading in to a secondary school, making his own way to and from.
Ben, he’ll just be starting school and his years in education.
Me…it will be the first time in 16 years that I’ll not have a toddler at home with me everyday, I can’t quite believe it. I actually find the prospect quite sad and very scary. It will be a new way of life for me, some things will be much easier, making phone calls and getting things done around the house. In other way’s it will be very sad, no little person tearing round the house, drawing me pictures, building me towers, giggling and cuddling up to me on the sofa to watch some Peter Rabbit. This has been my whole way of life for 16 years now.
In those years I’ve dealt with my daughter’s disability increasing in severity, nursing her after some pretty hefty surgeries, I’ve dealt with one of my sons being diagnosed with several disabilities of his own and fought to get him all the right support. I’ve studied Counselling & Psychotherapy for 3 years, I’ve worked for Home Start as a family visitor, I’ve helped set up and run a Charity that I’ve chaired for 2 years now.
People have asked me what I will do when my youngest starts school, given he is my last, I think many people think I’ll wonder what to do with myself and some have asked if I’ve any grand plans on the horizon, like finally getting a job maybe?
The fact is though I will have the same care package for Paige as I do now and it’s not enough hours to allow me to even work part time (I have been able to do voluntary because I could choose my hours, work evenings and work from home). Paige’s health is not improving, she has good days and bad days and this is and will be the status quo. She can’t sit in her wheelchair for any more than 40 minutes and even that is a push and requires pain relief and heat pads and her skin remains vulnerable to sores and breaking. Her bowels require daily management too (and she is doubly incontinent). She has a lot of health needs and her dependence will only increase, not decrease with time. I also have Owen, who will also always remain dependent. So unlike many other parent’s who have children who will grow in independence as they get older I have 2 that will always remain very dependent on me. People ALWAYS forget this, especially when they talk about me and Graham being able to take holidays or travel etc in our old age. It will also always affect the type of home we live in and that we’ll always require someone coming in to our home to help with my daughter’s care everyday or other day too.
Ben starting school will mean that maybe me and Paige can have a few more short trips out each week (just to the shop round the corner and back) with out me worrying about a toddler running of or having a tantrum. That kind of thing is hard to deal with when both your hands are tied pushing a wheelchair…and not just a ‘normal’ wheelchair, Paige’s is more of a bed on wheels, it’s BIG.
So other than that what are my plans? Well, I’m planning on not planning. I’m planning on just being Mum. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve achieved and it has helped my esteem to know that I’ve been able to do the stuff I have, it hasn’t been easy. Last year trying to continue with the charity when I came so close to losing my daughter was hard. I had to get my son a place in a special secondary school cross county, potty train my youngest and more. It was tough.
Recently there were some things I contemplated taking on for next year and starting this year but I questioned my motives. I was wanting to continue achieving but really just so I felt I could hold my head up high and say to other’s that I wasn’t just staying home being a Mum. So I could feel proud of myself. What I need now though isn’t to feel proud of myself, what I need to do now is things for myself and for my family.
I need to get through my driving test, I need to lose some of this excess weight I’m carrying. I want to get our home in order and maintain it properly. I want to spend some time in the garden and prepping things for our allotment. I want to enjoy cooking again. I want to learn to use my decent camera. I want to spend quality time with the kids, big and small. I want to enjoy time with my eldest being both her Mum and her carer. These are BIG things for me, because, they are for me and I don’t feel selfish, I feel relieved. I feel like I’ve spent years at a running pace, world book day costumes bought the day before world book day, school projects only started in the last 4 days of the holidays, dinners made out of ‘if it’s’ (if it’s in the cupboard, freezer or fridge) rather than meal planning. I am looking forward to just some brisk walking rather than running and I care not one jot about what anyone might think or say about me ‘just being a Mum’. I am looking forward to it, it will be a privilege to be able to stay home to care for my daughter and give myself to my family and my home that bit more. I have spent many years feeling upset that I’ve not been able to be and achieve all that I’d have wished, I had so wanted a career. This is a new perspective for me now and rather than seeing only negatives I am seeing the positives and looking ahead positively :-)
In the meantime I am cherishing this last year before Ben starts school, the house is sliding a bit in favor of sitting reading to him etc because I know the time is coming when there will be some time for the house and the garden and it’s really not far at all now! Then I shall enjoy preparing nice meals for the children and my husband coming home, long lunches with Paige and afternoons in the garden filling my cold frames to over flowing with plants for the garden and allotment. I sound like I’m going all 1950′s housewife I know, but not quite ;-) It’s a big life change ahead but I’m looking forward to making it a good one :-)