The definition of survive is ‘to continue to live or exist, especially in spite of danger or hardship’, ‘to continue to live or exist in spite of an accident or ordeal’.

I’ve used this word a lot over the last two years. Sometimes it does feel that as a family we are surviving. Sometimes it feels that the violence might overwhelm us but then we experience a calmer point and we continue.

This weekend, I was talking to someone who said, “She will survive at school, she has got strategies to help her survive.” I got a bit cross though this person was trying to help and didn’t mean to cause any hurt.

My children are survivors. In the very real sense of the word. They have survived danger, hardships, accidents and ordeals. They have already survived so much, at what point are they expected to stop surviving and start thriving?

Any child entering school should be given the opportunity to excel. It baffles me that people (government ministers who seem to have no clue about education), can’t see that these children are our country’s future. If we don’t take the time to invest in them now, how can we develop as a population?

It seems that everyday I spend a huge amount of time fighting for my children, fighting for someone other than family to help them thrive. I can’t be everything for my children. I can’t be a speech and language therapist, I can’t be an occupational therapist, I can’t be a psychologist, I can’t be a teacher, but these are some of the people that my children need to help them thrive. To stop them from having to just survive in this world. And yet, nobody wants to help them. Everyone believes that with a little love and some firm routines, my children will overcome everything that has gone before and it’s not fair.

Over the last two years my girls have made amazing progress in everything. And yet they still go into school and nursery ‘behind’ their peers. I have spent the last three weeks trying to get school to understand that my Big girl is working so hard to ‘survive’ at school that she is left feeling utterly exhausted and anxious. ‘Surviving’ at school means falling apart at home and that’s not okay. I think that as a family, we’re trying really hard to help our girls thrive, but I do wish we had a bit of help to do so.

The best bits

I took Little swimming last week after nursery. It was 45 minutes of sheer joy. She had close contact, she had fun, she relaxed, she giggled. At the end she said, ‘THAT was GREAT mummy!’

At gymnastics last week, Big walked along the low beam, did a turn in the middle and walked to the end. She did so well. But the best bit? The best bit was that she turned round to see if I had seen.



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