This weekend we will have been a family for two years. I can’t quite believe both how fast and how slow the time has gone. I’ve learnt a lot over the last two years. A lot of what I’ve learnt I wish I knew before, some of it could only have been learnt ‘on the job’.
I’ve learnt that getting help and support is so much harder than it should be. The assumption that my children will ‘get there’ seems to be region wide and as such we have been left pretty much with nothing. When I have phoned someone in desperation, I’ve been told to ‘look for the light at the end of the tunnel’, ‘remember it will get better’ and ‘I know of lots of other couples who’ve adopted a sibling group and they’re doing fine’.
I’ve learnt that living with someone who shows you no emotional connection is beyond hard. It is the thing that has made me question everything the most. I crave some kind of interaction and I’m having to work very hard to overcome my own emotions surrounding this.
I’ve learnt what it’s like to pick a child up from playgroup and see her face light up when she sees me.
I’ve learnt that The Lion King’s ‘I just can’t wait to be king’, is a happy car song and I’ve learnt that I smile every time we sing it altogether.
I’ve learnt that it is possible to be sent a report from an OT that states that my child’s fine and gross motor skills are significantly lower than those of her peers but to be offered no support to help her overcome this.
I’ve learnt that it is possible to discuss FASD with a paediatrician and for him to say, ‘Oh, she’s not got many of the facial features, I don’t think so’.
I’ve learnt the joy of watching my children ride their bikes for the first time.
I’ve learnt the magic of your child putting their face in the water for the first time. (After taking them swimming every week for two years.)
I’ve learnt to ignore the stares that seem to accompany us when we go out.
I’ve learnt about the impact of secondary trauma.
I’ve learnt about therapeutic parenting.
I’ve learnt that it is possible to be more tired than you ever thought you could be.
I’ve learnt how to play rugby on the beach on the world’s smallest pitch.
I’ve learnt that clothes can hurt one of my children and I’ve learnt to be accepting of what she can manage. (Even if other people haven’t.)
I’ve learnt about chocolate cake smiles.
I’ve learnt that our families’ huge accomplishments are not huge things to other people. But that this does not diminish them in any way.
I’ve learnt about the joy of watching Little fall asleep and then the (very rare) joy of being able to watch her wake up.
I’ve learnt that this is a long journey. There is no quick fix here. Some parts of it are incredibly hard but then you get a tiny glimpse of ‘something’ and it makes the journey worth continuing.
The best bits
Both the girls jumped into the pool this weekend. I cried with happy tears as it has taken two years to get them confident enough to do this. I was so proud.
We watched Minions this weekend. There are not many films that we can watch as a family but we tried it. Little laughed all the way through it and has been shouting ‘BANANA’ and pretending to eat us ever since.