February

The drive to write has mostly gone. As I predicted.

The pills have done their job though. Feelings have been mostly squashed, so I've been a lot calmer, more productive and handled people and situations like a proper grown up. At least some of the time. There is now a brake on the urge to spill and I've realised that time sorts out most issues. Of course that can mean years, and I suspect it will in the case of the biggest worry in this family.

The last birthday party

Looking back on old photos can be bittersweet. Especially when you have children with special needs. So many of us hope to carry on with family life as normal, and at first we think we can. And perhaps some families do.

But many differences become more noticeable as time goes on. More and more time has to be spent looking after their needs and attending appointments. Meantime other children grow older, and grow away from your child.

There are two moments in particular that stand out for me. One was a letter offering a secondary school place to Smiley at the same school attended by her sister. I cried. You see for several years I'd assumed that she would go to mainstream school. I checked them out for wheelchair accessibility. I put her name down on the lists. In the intervening years filled with battles with the State to get her any education at all, I'd forgotten my early optimism, until I got that letter.

The other time was much earlier, just before the battles began.

It was the occasion of her last birthday party.

When she was three.


Happy Valentine's Day to Me!

It's Valentine's Day tomorrow, and once again it will be just me and Netflix. But in many ways we have the perfect relationship....

It's always there for me (unless the broadband goes down).

It knows what I like, but doesn't tell me what to do.

It isn't grossed out if I don't shave my legs (or anything else).

It's easy to turn on, but just as easy to turn off.

I can interrupt it at any time, but it can't do the same to me.

And just when I thought our relationship couldn't get any better, this arrived. My first Valentine's Day gift for many many years.


Reasons to be cheerful about photography

I don't have a fancy camera, just an ordinary mobile phone. But I love taking pictures. The joy of spotting something unusual or interesting, cute or topical, and for a few seconds all your worries are banished to the back of your head, as you grab your phone to snap it up before it's gone. It's a little break and just what I need right now, as my son heads towards his Junior Cert exams, with the mocks next week.

So it was perfect timing when I discovered that my blogging friend Nicola from Simply Homemade had launched a February Photo A Day Challenge: it's not too late to join in either, and you can find my photos over on my Instagram. Here's a sample of what I've posted so far.

A message to politicians looking for my vote

So the General Election has been called in Ireland. There will be media coverage of little else from now until polling day on Friday 26th February. But I am so over politicians. I'm even over being an activist.

Things have got nasty over the past five years: I don't agree with imprisoning people in cars, and intimidating someone just because you don't like their policies. It's the start of a slippery slope.

I still have no idea who I should vote for. Once again I am mostly afraid of being disappointed. Afraid of broken promises, and remembering the advice to politicians from one commentator:

"Never make a promise you cannot break"

Yet it seems the election will be all about throwing promises of money and services at voters. Tinkering with this, and tweaking that. No big vision for a better society.

This is what I want, but I don't expect it to happen.

Escaping with Netflix

Do you feel the need to escape from the stresses of everyday life? I know I do. Better still if I can do it every day. And that's where Netflix comes in.

I know my viewing habits seem a bit weird to many other women my age: I've little interest in reality TV or soaps disguised as period drama. No, the high stress levels associated with being a special needs mum mean that total escapism is what I need most, and for me that usually means science fiction and fantasy.
It's not just me either: the rest of the household mostly enjoy this stuff too. And this is how we've been escaping recently.