It’s that time of the week again; a time to reflect, to make sense of the chaos that is our life and to remind myself of all the things that are good about it. Best of all, from my point of view, it’s a place where you can post your good news in the comments section. We all need a bit of good news and it seems to me that parents of premature or special needs children sometimes need it more than others. And to be honest, I’ll take it where I can. Whether it’s mine or someone else’s.
This week’s good news from the Boo household has a theme: the wheels didn’t fall off, and I don’t mean off the car, although that reminds me that the rear tyres have needed replacing for a month… No: I mean the wheels haven’t fallen off the precarious vehicle we’re kangarooing through life on.
You see, I went away last weekend, for a whole weekend. I have never left Mr Boo for more than 2 hours before and usually only while I was only about 5-10 minutes walk away. So, because I like to do things the easy way, I decided my first parting from him for 3 days should take me 3500 miles away to New York where my cousin was getting married. It was an amazing trip (although watching The Impossible on the plane was a VERY BAD idea for an on-the-edge mum with painful separation anxiety). There was a moment, during the cocktail party wedding on the Saturday night when I really felt like Carrie Bradshaw would walk in at any minute. I did struggle with my anxiety, though. Quite badly at various moments. But it passed. And everyone at home was FINE. No one decided to have a hospital admission. The Grumposaur learned to do Mr Boo’s physio, give him his medicines, put him to sleep (none of which he’d done before). He gained a greater understanding of Mr Boo’s needs and is closer to him than ever before. And as importantly, he knows he can look after him. So if that proverbial bus does run me over…. Anyway, it’s been a great experience all round.
Because I really like to make life easy for myself, the day after I got back from the US and with an unhealthy dose of jet-lag, I went back to work for the first time after 13 months of maternity leave and a period of sick leave for my acute anxiety and depression. (The a and d are still there, but since this is good news, I’ll come back to that another time.) Leaving Mr Boo was hard, although not as hard, in some ways, as it was to leave Sissyboo five years earlier. I know the nursery well (Sissyboo was there for 4 1/2 years) and the trust is of long standing. I still don’t know if me trying to work is the right thing, no matter how necessary it is. I don’t know if the nursery can be expected to support us in supporting his development in the way Mr Boo needs. But he is very happy there and that is wonderful.
Going back to work has been very difficult in lots of other ways, though. It may sound odd, but one of my biggest worries was walking into my office, the place where 13 months ago I was bent double hoping the person on the other end of my 999 call would tell me not to be so silly and I wasn’t really in labour. I opened the door with a dry mouth and a thumping sensation in my chest, but once I remembered to breathe and look past the neat piles of 13 months worth of post I saw the most beautiful vase of flowers from my colleagues and found a mug which I’d got for winning a prize I didn’t know I’d even been nominated for.
When I collected Mr Boo I learned he had been fine all day and he was trying, as usual, to eat his new glasses. (Boy who can’t use his arms properly has still worked out how to get his specs off his face – not easy when they curl completely round his ear – and put them into his mouth.) When we got home, Sissyboo was trying to persuade me she was old enough to watch Spiderman and I had a gazillion phone messages from healthcare professionals to deal with. Nothing had changed. That was reassuring.
Who knows if this is the right thing in the long term. But for now, we’re all OK. And OK is pretty good in a weird old week like this, if you ask me. Better than good, in fact.
OK, now it’s your turn…