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Dealing with the yukky stuff

Dealing with the yukky stuff

As I headed upstairs to get James up this morning, I heard him giggling… Now normally this is a sound that absolutely thrills my heart, but I know James all too well and at 07:30 in the morning it is rare to get so much as a grunt out of James.

Giggling meant trouble; my heart sank…

Sure enough, as I entered James’ room, an all too familiar scene greeted me (and my senses!)

James occasionally, overnight while he is relaxed and sleeping, does a “Number 2”. The good news is that he still wears a pad at night, the bad news is that if he wakes up early, he will start to play.

Whoever discovers him in the morning will usually shout for help with the dreaded words “brown alert!”

This morning, as I was once again cleaning James, his bed, his room, you surely can’t blame me for sighing (not too deeply… the smell!!) and wondering what other dads were doing at that time.

Maybe enjoying their breakfast, or chatting with their family about what they all had planned for the day. Maybe watching the latest news over a cup of tea or coffee before heading out for the day.

Not many would be clearing up poo.

My sigh didn’t last long though, certainly not as long as the unmistakable aroma that is still permeating every corner of the house at the moment despite having all the windows open!

I was reminded that I was not the only dad, or mum, who had faced a similar start to the day.

Many parents and carers across the country will have faced the same, maybe even worse, and as I carried on cleaning I could almost hear their voices encouraging me and reminding me that dealing with the ‘yukky stuff’ is an often inevitable consequence of additional needs parenting; I could almost hear them whispering to me… “I’ve done this, you can do it too…”

As I finished cleaning James, his bed, and his room up this morning, I felt just a little closer to those other parents and carers through the experience.

My love for James is unconditional, it isn’t affected at all by what he does; neither is other parents and carers love for their child.

Living in a way that serves James and my family is living like many others live and no matter how many times I keep getting it wrong they are the role models that I am inspired to follow.

It’s a lifestyle that is hard, but which also brings joy, fulfilment, satisfaction and love.

For each of us, we face a choice… what kind of life do we want?

Do we want the ‘It’s all about me!’, ‘Because you’re worth it!’ self-centred, self-obsessed, self-serving life that is shoved at us all the time through wall-to-wall advertising? Shallow, worthless, unfulfilling and empty though it is? Or do we want to love, live and serve like these inspirational parents and carers, rolling our sleeves up sometimes to deal with the yukky stuff in our lives and in the lives of others, but knowing that through it all we are living a life that makes a difference, that is inspiring, that is deeply fulfilling?

I know what my choice is… now, where are those wet-wipes again!

Firefly Blog

Real life stories, issues and experiences of day to day life by special needs parents and
healthcare professionals.

Mark Arnold

Meet Our Blogger

Mark heads up Urban Saints pioneering additional needs ministry programme and is co-founder of the ‘Additional Needs Alliance’, a learning and support community. He is a ‘Churches for All’ partner, a member of both the ‘Council for Disabled Children’ and the ‘Living Fully Network’, and serves on the executive for ‘Children Matter!’ Most importantly, he is dad to James, a 16-year-old with ASD and learning difficulties.

View Mark’s Profile

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