As a kid I remember counting down the days until those lovely long days of summer, as a parent I cringe at the knowledge that I have to somehow find/fund childcare for my profoundly disabled little chap for 6 weeks.
Excuse me please while I sigh, loudly.
We are incredibly lucky, Sam has funding from the Council for respite carers to come in and entertain him while I go to work and his Dad gets on with his jobs.
We get maybe three afternoons a week when a carer comes in, Sam looks forward to these visits so very much because for all his problems, he is a very normal little boy and he LOVES having people over to play - even though very often he doesn’t show it!
But before all that comes the awards season, and already my social media is filling up with posts from proud friends, sharing what their kids have done at school, who’s won which award, usually accompanied by photos of said beaming offspring showing off their certificates.
Trophies too, in some cases.
And we, too, will be attending Sam’s school awards ceremony…
Last year, he won best artist in the school and I have never been more proud.
At the same time sitting in the school hall with the other parents, waiting for our children to come in either in their wheelchairs, with walking frames, teaching assistants and teachers supporting them all the way… I don’t think I’ve been to one yet where anyone was left dry eyed.
It’s a bizarre mix of sheer, unrelenting pride that our children are overcoming obstacles that are just massive and we all know *just* how much effort that has taken on the part of child, parents and school.
But in amongst the tears of pride are the tears for what might have been.
Those catch in your throat a bit, choking you.
This isn’t what any of us were prepared for, this life.
It’s different and wonderful and excruciating and exhilarating all at once.
And that is *exhausting*.
I’ve learnt that it is possible to feel multiple conflicting emotions at the same time, each intense and battling for prime position.
And this time of year feels especially difficult some days.
But I will continue to revel in my boys achievements and to scream them from the highest point I can find, because he has earned them with blood sweat and tears.
And for all my heart is fractured, with each achievement that child makes, every tiny ounce of progress… those fractured parts are mended a little more.