Since becoming a parent I’ve seen both the best and worst of the general public; mostly because having a child in a wheelchair does rather change your perspective.
People who push in front of my boy as if he wasn’t there, or who ignore him and talk over his head make me see red.
As for those selfish individuals who park in a blue badge space when not entitled to do so, I firmly believe there is a special place in Hell for them.
But then there’s the other people – the ones who have never met us, who none the less want to help in some way.
We’ve had people donate to fundraising events, others who’ve sent gifts to Sam together with cards just because they were touched by his story and wanted to let a little boy with horrendous seizures know that someone else was thinking about him.
We’ve discovered parents who out of personal tragedy have set up charities and support networks to help those of us still in the thick of it.
Friends of friends have stepped in to support us and Sam when we’ve needed it the most, but also when we’re actually having a good run of things, and that is just as critical.
Being a SN parent isn’t just hard, it’s lonely. I’m lucky – I can still work because Sam’s Dad quit work two years ago to be his full-time carer so I could continue working.
It means I get out of the house, have company and can focus on something other than special needs, therapies, equipment, funding... the list goes on.
I’m so tired of putting on a front; appearing strong, confident, relaxed, when my mind is scrambled through lack of sleep, pain and worry.
Close friends see through that mask, and know that asking if everything’s ok will likely result in not very much. But a coffee and chat will definitely help.
When I was younger my Nan told me to smile at people when out and about. Doesn’t matter if you’re just out for a walk, off shopping or out with your family.
Look up and smile at the people you pass, because it could be the only smile they see all day.
I still do it, and almost 100% of the time they smile back (possibly wondering “who is this slightly mad, frenetic looking woman with frizzy hair?!”).