I don’t even have to look at you to know that you can take ‘that’ face off…. The sigh was all I needed to hear. I could listen to your protests until you’re blue in the face and I could retaliate. Shouting and screaming don’t serve us well, though, do they, and, whilst I’ll be sure to set you straight on a few things when I find the time and the energy, just know this for now….
I spent a sleepless night, not only writhing about in pain, but with my mind full to brim of worries. I worried whether or not you would want to go on the special dance course today, the one that we organised for you to attend during the holidays, but that you were reluctant to do – because none of your friends were doing it. I know you worry about friendship – a lot. I worried and hoped that you would be confident to take a chance, just to give yourself that chance. Unbeknown to you – I worry about lots of things that I know that you so desperately worry about. I worried that we had sufficient snacks and delicacies in the fridge for your packed lunch and that we had some white bread, the only bread you’ll eat – I know what a fussy thing you can be!! I worried that that period of absence with your brother yesterday wasn’t the onset of another seizure and I beat myself up further that I didn’t have the energy to drag myself from my pit to check on him right that moment. I worried about how your other brother would cope today, adult-sitting for Papa. We know that Papa is struggling at the moment and that he isn’t coping and that I just can’t spread myself thinly enough to be there for all of you all of the time. I often worry about that. I worried about getting you to your session, getting your brother to Papa’s and getting myself to my appointment in quick succession in double-quick time. That was before even worrying about what the MRI scan might show. I also worried about that pain in my leg, and the bruise. The very one that you pointed out yesterday whilst I was changing. You made such an almighty shriek that I thought something was seriously wrong. I fear that one of my veins has ruptured in my leg again. Maybe that worry is founded.
I worried all the more that I slept through my first alarm and that when I woke and realised the time I didn’t have the time to worry about what the day had in store for me. I was far more concerned that your brother’s meds were prepared, that everyone was up and dressed, that Papa had been called to be reminded … that your packed lunch was made, that you were wearing comfy clothing, appropriate footwear and that you had a warm hoodie … I even remembered to remind you to wear a hair band – in case your hair annoyed you and you wanted it off your face. I told your brother to take his mobile phone, to wear sensible boots and a warm coat and hat and suggested he take a jigsaw. It wasn’t my fault that he’d left the jigsaw and his hat behind the front door, but when I realised he was without them… I worried about that too! I made your packed lunch made sure you had a large juice container – full enough to last you the day and made with just enough cordial so that you’d drink it!
I didn’t have breakfast as I was too busy running around – but I ensured that you and your brother had yours, before relaying plans to your Dad and leaving the house in just sufficient time to get you to your class.
I worried when I got to the car and found it covered in a thick layer of ice – that really thick watery ice (bear with me here) – not the powdery stuff you can just scrape off but the sort like black ice that doesn’t scrape easily and you have to sit in the car for 10 minute with the heaters on full blast just to get it to even ease up a little! (Yes, De-icer would have been a grand plan, but your father doesn’t believe in it … until he needs some – then he chooses to borrow mine, but fails to replace it)!
I put your favourite radio station on in the car and urged your brother to speak kindly to you, whilst I buggered about de-icing the car – I knew that you were nervous… I was too. I got you there in plenty of time, in fact we were one of the first there and I waited with you anxiously until everyone arrived. I left your brother in the car, so he couldn’t distract you and I worried about that too, despite the fact I could see him from the window. I talked to you calmly about anything and everything and tried to ease your grasp around my waist a little. I was desperate to tell you that all your worries were unfounded that you’d have a fabulous day and that we’d look back on this and laugh. I on the other hand worried just because you were – which was pretty silly really!
I skidded most of the way down the hill back onto the main road – through no fault of my own … despite my urgency I was crawling slower that a particularly precautionary learner driver! The ice made the roads treacherous and it was too much to expect that the gritters would have been out in a Yorkshire village in winter!
I managed to drive as fast as I could … despite nearly colliding with the gritting lorry three villages along (you couldn’t write this irony could you) and your brother reached Papa’s in fine fettle. More importantly Papa seemed happy and pleased to see him …. I worried just how long that would last!
I too made my appointment in ample time, I even had time to complete the necessary paperwork, to have a plastic cup of water and to read a swift chapter of my book – although if you asked me to relay the chapter back to you, even then just seconds afterwards, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you any of it.
I spent just shy of an hour in a head brace in the MRI scanner and after managing to dislodge the earplug (a slightly hair moment) I wobbled my way to the door to collect my belongings. After a moment I had drawn enough breath to steady myself and composed myself enough to drive home. Sadly, not enough time for that brew with the old school friend that I was so looking forward to having … I needed to get back to take the reins from Dad in looking after your brother, to check for important emails and to respond to any urgent issues.
On the way home, I called at the shops to get your brother that pair of wellies he so desperately needed (and fell lucky at the third shop!) … and I managed to get you a new T-shirt and dance leggings that you didn’t desperately need, but that would be a treat for you joining in today and for taking the plunge. I’m really proud of you, you know.
I got back, not much later than intended, spent some time with your brother, flushed his feeding tubes and got him to drink a little orally. I checked a few emails and completed the seizure forms that I should have done last week. I took some much-needed pain relief. I had the quickest lunch in history (albeit 2 hours later than intended) and sent a few quick emails and updated my To Do List, before shooting off to collect you.
In the car on the way I realised that I’d forgotten to take the sausages out of the freezer, your favourite tea and one that I knew Papa would enjoy when he dropped Jem back (even though your Dad and I are on a strict diet). Still, I quickly factored in a stop at the shops on the way back to get some more and some more bread and ham for your sandwiches tomorrow.
When I arrived to collect you, you were happy. In fact you were bursting and the lady who supervises the classes and does the admin couldn’t wait to tell me just how well you’d done today. I was seriously proud. I knew you’d be happy with the new dance gear I had waiting for you at home.
…. Whilst you push your plate angrily to one side and roll your eyes high into your head, before pushing out your bottom lip, even further than your cute button nose, young lady, inside I am taking a deep contemplative sigh of my own. I’d like to tell you this ….
You most definitely would have had those sausages for tea if, right at that last moment I’d have not been so distracted in Tesco – trying to ensure that you chose something slightly more healthy than that silly novelty toy sweet thing with more E numbers and sugar than I could shake a stick at … so that I hadn’t forgotten to buy your favourite sausages at the shop, remedying the situation … whether I’d have remembered to take them out of the freezer or not!
So, I’m sorry, my love, it’s not sausages for tea!