Saturday, June 9, 2012
This is what respite means to me
...hours of free time as my other children can dress, feed, toilet and move themselves.
...meals whenever, wherever.
...no need to plan the day around meals and toileting.
...going to the beach, or the hills, or the park on the bikes, or up steps, or over stiles, or through woods.
...being able to say "In the car now, kids", and they can do it themselves. In a few seconds.
...going to the cinema without paying a baby sitter.
...when the children are asleep, they're asleep. Well mostly, unless there's night frights or sickness or late night partying. That's my teenager you understand. But no 'accidents' at 11, or position changes at 3.
That's when my disabled daughter Smiley is in respite.
...remembering all the things my son can do but won't (see above).
...a break from the endless monologue about the latest game.
...cooking proper food and everyone eating it.
...going shopping, or coffee and cakes, with my girls and other friends.
...not having to preplan everything I say.
...not having to prepare a strategy for everything from dressing to homework to bedtime.
...not having to check every room for moths, spiders, flies and then remove every trace.
...not having to accompany and stay with him every time he goes upstairs.
That's when aspie boy is in respite (well at his Dad's).
I love all my kids, but sometimes it's good to get a break.
I can breathe.
It means I get the chance to be me. Just for a while.
And the reason that I wrote this is because respite is under threat. For all carers. Many of whom need it far more than me. It seems that the Irish Government may stop funding respite, so that families will have to pay for it. Not all families will be able to, leaving them heading for breaking point, squeezed between funding and service cuts. Respite helps families to keep going. To keep caring. It is vital.
Respite. Recharge. Relax. Rethink. Return, refreshed and ready.