Aren’t memories funny things. Precious things. I have so many memories going right back to a really early age … memories of an uncle who died when I was just two, memories of my pushchair folding up as my Mum was crossing a road, memories of finding a wee dead bird at the side of the garage and being so upset about it. Some memories are clear, vivid whilst others are barely there. I remember, as a pre-schooler, going out of church to Sunday School each Sunday morning and waving up to my Dad standing in the pulpit, and I remember so clearly how he would smile and wave back to me. I have happy memories of each of my grandparents … memories of my Grandpa putting his hand on my head and saying “Bless you my child” in a kind of sing song way. And I have memories of my Grandad sitting in his wee shed watching and chatting to his grandchildren as we stripped the plants free of garden peas and ate the lot before our Gran laughingly scolded that she didn’t get one meal out of them. Or my Grandmother in the last years of her life when a stroke had robbed her of her independence, talking with her about what I was doing, holding her hand and just enjoying being in her presence. I pride myself on having a good memory … for most things. I can clearly recall conversations I had with Mr GG or others from years ago but if you ask me to nip to the supermarket for something I’m guaranteed to get there and wander around aimlessly hoping something I see will remind me what I’m there for.
Other memories are bittersweet: the pain of losing each of my grandparents, the memory of the babies we had who went straight to heaven. Today is one of those bittersweet days … it is five years ago today that Son No2 was diagnosed with autism which means that it is just over eight years ago since Son No1 was diagnosed. Our lives have changed so much since we received each of those diagnoses. As a couple Mr GG & I have had to get our heads around the fact that life for our boys isn’t going to be straight forward … we have tried so desperately hard to teach them that although their route may be different to some other people, there is nothing they can’t do (to be honest, silver service may possibly be pushing it for one boy in particular). Our role is no longer just ‘parent’ … we are advocates for our boys, we are their voice in meetings, we are fighting for them to get the help they need, the therapies they need and the acceptance they deserve. As a family we have lost friends who just didn’t understand that life was different for us but, we are so very thankful for the friends we have, both new and old, who ‘get’ it, who love us as we are, accept our quirky family, join in the mayhem at GGHQ and relish the many laughs that fill our home.
Yes, the path I walk as a mum of children with special needs is not what I expected but I wouldn’t change it for one minute … I’d change the world for my children but my boys are just exactly the way they are meant to be.
So, anyway, back to the Love Dare … day 36 today which means, if I try hard I can finish the next four dares before the end of the year. Christmas is fast approaching though and already the boys are begging for the tree to be put up (not before December!), the advent calendar is made (I’m quite proud of it so here is a pic!) and I’m still trying to scrabble ideas together for presents!
Today is all about love bearing all things. ‘You saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked (Dt 1:31).
We need to allow our children to make mistakes and bear the consequences but they need, always, to be sure of our love for them. We need to judge how to react whether with compassion or by ‘turning up the heat’ (Love Dare for Parents, Kendrick, p178)
The example used today is that of the Prodigal Son … I love that parable … the father allowed his son to go off and do his own thing, make his mistakes, he didn’t chase after him … but … when his son came home he celebrated and welcomed him back, without chastisement. That’s the type of parent I want to be.
The dare for today is one that baffles me … reassuring our children that our love for them is constant. Isn’t that something we all do as parents? I don’t know. I know that it’s something Mr GG and I talk about with the Junior GGs … they are, I trust, secure in the knowledge that our love for them isn’t dependent on how they behave or how well they are doing. Our love is unconditional … it’s important that my boys know that.
So, another busy day beckons … Mr GG is working from home today which usually means I get to have lunch with him but I’m off out and leaving him to eat alone … I hope he knows I still love him all the same and doesn’t feel too abandoned … especially after accidentally locking him out this morning … oops