Being my friend is hard. I'm often late, I often have to reschedule or when I do turn up I'm tired and lacking enthusiasm.
Being a mum is a tough job. Being a special needs mum is even harder.
I can completely confirm this as I have both children with special needs and children without special needs.
Life with a child with special needs is full on and requires ALL my attention. It also costs us a lot.
Having had to give up my job and career to care for Ethan, means we are on one wage. We know we are very fortunate to be able to manage on one wage with no extra help, but the costs of living for Ethan is not covered by the money he receives from the government or what we can earn.
His needs are far greater than this.
This doesn't leave me with an awful lot left over to enjoy time with my family let alone with others. It takes its toll when people are out living their lives and want you to join in but you can't.
My family will always come first and spending my time with them is my main priority.
Having friends that understand this is so totally important. I ask a lot of the people around me, in terms of understanding.
I don't ask a lot in time as I'm not one to ask for help so conquer this world as our unit mostly. Understanding that although this life chose us, that we wouldn't have it any other way and it's not upsetting or a bad life.
Life is full on and overwhelming and although I want to join in with "normal" conversations, sometimes this is incredibly hard for me to be a part of.
I love hearing about your children but it can also may me draw back as I don't have the same lives others do with their children.
So know that if I'm not my old self all the time, I'm OK I just need time to process everything.
Being my friend means adapting around me. Being aware that we can't always visit your house due to access or that my child needs their own surroundings.
It's not that we don't want to come, it's because we don't often have the energy to be able to conquer the world outside our safe space.
I can often read messages quickly and not be able to reply straight away.
This is because I am usually in the middle of sticking to a routine or performing a medical procedure. It doesn't mean I'm ignoring you or that I don't value your friendship. It's hard to keep on top of my own social life when my carer life is 24/7.
I have always been a socialable person and this won't change. I just have to limit my time now so as to not burn myself out.
You see I'm a very important part of this special needs journey. I am the one that facilitates everything.
Without me Ethans world would be sad and lonely. This is not me being big headed, not at all. Its me being a special needs mum that knows I have to have things together to allow my son to access a life he deserves.
Being my friend is an incredibly hard job. Some will find it easier than others and that's ok. Know that I value your friendship and if you get contact from me, even in small bits then know you're very special to me.
I'm sorry I can't chase our friendship anymore and I know that makes it harder for you, but know that I appreciate every ounce of effort that you have put into keeping our friendship going.
To those that have stuck by me after 9 years of parenting and special needs parenting, thank you.
To those who I have met along the way, a huge thank you for walking in and knowing what I've needed.
For those who are there to listen when I need it. For those who help in ways you don't even know you're helping. For all your understanding and for most of all for all your friendship.
Please don't give up on me. I'm not asking for any of our friendships to change.
I love everything the way it is. Just know that I value you all in different ways. I will need different friendships though different parts of my life. So if I don't include you in all of it, I'm sorry.
It's sometimes easier to not have to explain everything to everyone all the time. Because time is so short and important over here.
So finally. A massive thank you to each and every friend past and present I'm very lucky to have you.