|Bossom buddies x
I thus apologise for the lack of meaty blogging content of late, but I don't regret it... :)
Now with less than 2 weeks of precious summer break left, I'm going to sit right down and throw some thoughts onto this blog. Right here, right now.
The school year ended in mid July, and this gave me cause to reflect proudly on the achievements and hurdles that my girls had overcome. Natty, a confident little poppet with Down's Syndrome, entered mainstream school for the first time, making lots of new friends, holding her head high in the reading and numeracy stakes, out of nappies, joining in with school lunches, PE, wake-up shake-up and (despite Mummy's neurotic fears) never once trying to escape.
Mia soared this year, happy, healthy and eager, confident on school camp, chosen for Olympic and musical events. After a worrying year last year, when the stresses of living in a temporary accommodation while we did building work on our home took its toll on her physically and emotionally.
As the term ended Her Melness Speaks got me thinking about summer holidays as markers of time with her wonderful blog post Remember?. A wonderful read, I determined at once to seize the day and make the very most of our summer together to make sure it was our best yet. And that is has definitely been.
Natty is 5 now, and for the first time I am not constantly crippled with worry about her health, either keeping her in quarantine pre or post heart op, or scared to meet up with other children for fear of the infections we would contract. Don't get me wrong, I still shun the viral soup that is those ball pit play places, but on so many levels, this summer feels as if we are back on track somehow. There has been some hayfever, a temperature and some painful constipation, but nothing worrying (touch wood).
And so, boosted by Mel's positive take on life, and thinking about how much easier life is now that we don't have to take pushchairs and slings and breast pads and baby food and nappies and 3 types of nipple/bottom/skin cream and several changes of clothing and huge kit bags and toys and syringes for tube feeding and medication, we threw ourselves into.... SUMMER!
|Family volleyball at sunset
We've had a whale of a time, some real hoots and quality moments. Everyone has done something they wanted to do and there haven't been too many arguments. Honestly, I've only shouted once or twice and am actually quite sad that the holidays are coming to a close. Natty is reliably dry during the day and is now conversing happily and able to play imaginary games with Mia. Suddenly the two are playmates, bossom buddies, able to make their own games in the garden. I'm always on red alert, but I have been able to do it from a distance for the first time.
Mia has been old and wise enough to attend some fab drama and horseriding summer schools for the first time. She has come home beaming with pride at her newfound skills and independence, her beauty shining from within that place of self-worth. Natty and I have spent hours doing puzzles, art, reading, swimming, gardening, visiting zoos, learning to pedal her tricycle, making chocolate cakes, but most of all having fun, giggling, tickling and talking, talking a lot. Her language is improving exponentially, not just sentences now, but questions, made up songs, counting, and jokes (well, if you count talking about farts at inappropriate moments a joke).
The house has been filled with extended family, cousins, grandparents, uncles, aunts, coming and going, staying from far afield, even a distant great uncle from Italy, all stamping their mark on our perfect summer.
But I am tinged with deeper sadness. Why on earth? Our friend Alicia from the US reminded me why when she said 'Hayley, freeze your kids in time at this moment. This is the best moment.'
Of course in a year or two Mia will be wanting to spend more time away with friends, her social diary ever fuller than ours, then learning to drive and finding her feet in the world. Boyfriends, parties, jobs, study.
I damn well hope and work towards the day that Natty will follow suit in her own way.
|Natty hoses down the dry log pile!
And of course this is what we want, we are building beautiful bows right now from which to spring the arrows that are our children forward into independence, into the big wide, often ugly world, with integrity and self-belief, confidence and ambition.
But Natty has Down's Syndrome.
Won't the rest of her summers be like this one, spent happily under my wing, a forever-child?
The bow we are creating is more complex and is taking some specialist craftspeople to work on it with us, but we aim to launch that arrow in the same way as its sister one day. We'll monitor its flight path closely, put I feel sure she will fly very nicely thank you. Maybe not as far, but all by herself.