If you were to come into our house you might see us playing on the floor. You might see Little sitting very close to me or on me and Big sitting quite far away.
You might not see the little smiles I give Big and the little squeezes on the knee or the foot.
If you came to school to pick the girls up, you might see Big not move when she sees me. You might see me having to go to her and help her out of her seat to come with me. You might see that she doesn’t smile when she sees me. You might see Little come running, shouting, ‘MUMMY!’
You might not see the wee kiss I drop on top of Big’s head or the wee squeezes and rubs I give her hand as we walk up the road.
If you were to watch bedtime you might see Little give me a huge hug and say ‘I love you, I love you, I love my mama.’ You might see Big drop her head when I go in. You might see Big not being able to say anything at bedtime.
You might not see the kiss I drop on the back of her head. You might not see me whisper ‘I love you, I will see you in the morning, I love you.’
If you came on a day out with us, you might see Big try to run away rather than come home with us. You might see Big hit and kick and shout at me.
You might not see me whispering, ‘I know it’s hard. I know it’s scary. It’s okay to be scared.’
If you came into our house you might see a girl who looks perfectly happy and content. You might see a girl who smiles. You might see a girl who looks happy where she is.
You might not see a girl who holds herself away from people ever so slightly. You might not see that her smile is slightly too wide. You might not see how scared she is.
If you came into our house you might think, ‘That mum is with one child much more than the other.’
You might not see how many books the mum has read to try to understand her eldest child better. You might not see how she seeks advice from other parents to help her with different strategies. You might not see how much she fights to get help for her eldest child. You might not see how hard she keeps trying to find ways to be closer to her eldest child.
You might come into the house and sometimes see a parent holding back tears after she has tried to help her child. You might see a child struggling with a coat and see the parent taking a second to take a deep breath rather than helping her.
You might not see the years of trying to help. The years of not being spoken to or touched unless someone is watching. You might not see how many ways the parent tries to help the child and the different ways that that help is rejected. You might not see how scared she is that she will never be able to help her.
I understand that people need to comment on my relationship with Big. I understand that they need to point out the things that they see. I understand that the first thing that people would suggest is that my parenting might be at fault. I’m sure there will always be things that I need to do differently. But I wish people would listen to the things that they don’t see. I wish that people could see that Big needs help. Big and I need help. But that, even though you don’t always see it, I am trying.
The best bits
We went away for the weekend a few weeks ago. I wish I could show you a photo of Little’s face at the bottom of the waterslide. It was just wonderful.
Big had her first session with the OT last week. She persevered with climbing up a hanging ladder and did really well.
I went on the water slides too. At one point I screamed out loud and then giggled. I can recommend it.