Back in June, we had Carers Week; for me and Mr V, and millions of others, every week is carers week.
No parent chooses for their child to be born with a life-limiting condition or disabilities.
Likewise, no parent would ever choose for their child to develop these as a result of illness, accident or another cruel twist of fate.
But it happens.
And when it does you find yourself in a world of medical terminology, testing, grief and often fear for the future.
But there is also hope.
This isn’t a club anyone plans on joining, but once you’re in, you’re a life-long member. The other members are pretty awesome and will show you that being a carer is not only an incredibly worthwhile role but comes with a huge amount of positives that help to balance out the difficult bits.
True, it is exhausting (mentally, physically and emotionally), and will take a level of courage and strength on your part that you never thought you had.
But you will find it, and then some.
Being a parent-carer will open your eyes to a different world, one where no achievement is considered minor or insignificant. Every bit of progress is celebrated, every individual is valued and loved for who they are not what they can or can’t do.
It will teach you what it means to love unconditionally.
You will experience the kind of highs that make you feel like you’re soaring, and while the lows will take you deeper into the abyss than you imagined possible there will always be others there ready to sit with you in the dark and to help you climb back up again when you’re ready.
Every time your child does something that others take for granted you will want to punch the air with pride and joy because you KNOW how hard won that victory is.
You will learn greater empathy, how to advocate for those who need you, and you will become your loved ones greatest champion because they are yours.
The Dude is blessed to have a huge number of people in his corner, who love, support, encourage and cheer for him… but I count me and his Dad as the lucky ones.
Because we were blessed with this amazing, bright, gentle and happy little boy.
To those just starting on this journey as carers I can’t promise it’ll be easy. But I absolutely promise that it will be worth it.