People often think I’m strong or that I’m doing an amazing job and cope brilliantly raising 3 children with autism, working and studying for a degree but I’m doing no more than any other parent in my situation would do. Don’t get me wrong, comments like these are wonderful and mean so much to me, especially on the days where I’m crying and feeling like the worst mum in the world. But I’m not amazing, I don’t have super strength, I don’t have all the answers (although sometimes it would be nice to have some!) I just have a fabulous support network around me (and sadly some that are no longer with us) and it is overflowing with people who will love me, advise me and pull me through the hard times and drag me out the other side with a smile on my face no matter what happens. It’s these people that this blog post is for, I know I don’t say it often enough but thank you from the bottom of my heart and I love you all.
Lets start with my family. I have the most amazing Mum and Dad imaginable, they’ve always made myself, my brother and my sister the centre of their world. If we need something they’re there no matter what time of day it is or what they are doing. If the kids have a rash or a temperature and I’m unsure they’ll come and have a look and put my mind at ease. My dad has probably spent most of my life driving me around and never grumbled; sporting activities and friends houses when I was younger, endless hospital trips, shopping trips – he even runs me to Uni to make sure I’m not late. My mum will watch the kids so I can do the food shop in peace, or so I can work without refereeing an argument every 2 minutes. Without them I wouldn’t be the person that I am. My brother Jason and sister Claire have to be included here too, I don’t see as much as them as I’d like these days as as we’re all grown up and have lives of our own but they were there for me when I was growing up (even if they did convince me that my middle name was saucepan head!!!), and I know if I need anything they’d be there without any hesitation ready to have my back, look after me and help in any way they can.
Next I get soppy – this Is a one off, I don’t do public affection often so make the most of it!!! My partner, Danny is my rock, he’s the sensible and practical one and he keeps he keeps me grounded when I’m off fantasizing about completely unrealistic things. We’ve been through a lot over the years. It’s because of him that I’m able to manage my bipolar (not brilliantly sometimes but I’m getting there). He’s the one that has to suffer the mania of my ‘ups’ and witness the hard times when my ‘lows’ occur and I’m hit with bouts of depression but he sticks by my side and has helped me to acknowledge that I have a mental health issue. He has helped me to discover what triggers my ups and downs and now I can recognise them before they start. He’s also an amazing dad, he works hard to provide for us all, makes sure he sets aside time for family time, teaches the kids so much and loves them more than anything and they feel exactly the same about him. Above anything though, he is my best friend, we laugh together, we have fun together, we fight like any other couple but he is the one person I can truly be myself with, he’s seen the good the bad and the ugly and is still around. The thought of a life without him is too heart wrenching to even imagine. (Somebody pass me the sick bucket, all this girly gushing is too much for me!!!).
With the soppiness out of the way, time to lighten the mood with my friends. I have a lot of friends who mean so much to me, so please don’t be offended if you are not mentioned here, you all bring something different and unique to my life and I’d be sad without you all but this space is for 3 very special ones. Vanessa, Elaine and Lou without you 3 I’d be lost. You’re the ones that keep me smiling, whether it be a night of tequila, a shopping trip or just a good old rant when something or someone has really annoyed me you’re there for me and the kids. You make me laugh, you put up with my stupidity and stubbornness and more importantly you love me for it!!! (Don’t deny it know ladies, you know it’s true!) If it wasn’t for Lou I would never have started this blog which has helped me deal with so much over the last few months.
These next 2 people are no longer here but deserve a mention for the impact they’ve had on my life. Firstly there is Simon, he was one of the bravest people I have ever met. Just before his 5th birthday he was diagnosed with a tumour and battled it until just before his 9th birthday when he sadly died. The fact that he fought so hard for so long in itself is brave but he was the person who taught me to smile through everything. No matter what he was going through or how he felt he always had a smile and was laughing and joking. Nothing seemed to get to him, he just took it all in his stride. The funeral song he chose for himself summed Simon up perfectly – ‘Always look on the Brightside of life’, even now almost 20 years on a few bars of this song has me in tears. I wish he could know what an impact he had on me and the way I try to live my life. People tell me that no matter what I go through I smile and it’s because of Simon singing this all of the time that I do.
My Gran is the second person who can’t be here for me to thank, but she was one of the most wonderful people that anybody could of met. She had the warmest heart, an open house and the biggest sweetie jar for miles around!!! It’s been 14 years since she died and it still hurts as much now as it did then. There is not a day goes by that I don’t think of her, and I know she is watching me and I just hope that she is proud of me (for those of you who don’t know me, I am not a person that cries but just the mere thought of my Gran has me sat typing this in floods of tears!). Most of my way of thinking comes from my Gran and little things she would tell us. I’d hear her tell my sister that she’d know ‘the one’ when she met him and I never really believed it until I met Danny and I instantly knew that he was who I was meant to be with. She also told me that if it was meant for you then it wouldn’t go past you, my life is ruled by this saying, I don’t stress myself over little things that obviously weren’t meant to be and accept that I was meant to have children with autism and get on living life, it’s definitely not the end of the world. Yes it may be hard but I’m rewarded in so many different ways from them on a daily basis that I wouldn’t change it, I wouldn’t take the autism away. The last one is one of the most important things she passed on, and one that my Dad lives by too; no matter what you have going on in your life there is always somebody that has it harder and worse than you do. This is why I don’t mope around, as far as I’m concerned I’m lucky I have three beautiful, healthy and amazing children when there are so many people in the world who can’t have children, or those who are having to watch their children suffer through horrendous illnesses. I’m truly blessed.
The final 3 people are the most important people, it is them that give me a reason to smile every day, it is them that make me strong, they are my world. Danny, Poppy and Milly -without them I would be nothing, everything I do is for them, they are the reason I wake up in the morning, they make a dull day sparkle and shine. Without them life would be bland and empty, they have such an amazing view on life and their quirks are perfect, each one of them so unique. I never thought it was humanly possible to love anybody as much as I love them and just when I think I can’t love them anymore they do something to prove me wrong.
So those of you that think I’m amazing or strong or some kind of super-mum now do you see that I’m not, I’m just the luckiest girl alive to have all these wonderful people in my life!