I'm sorry I couldn't be of any help today, at the school, when you needed the parents to pitch in to help clean up the gardens.
I'm sorry I never baked those cakes I promised the kids and I, that I'd make for the cake sale. But we made up for it by buying £10 worth.
I'm sorry I didn't have the time to fill out all those parent questionnaires or online surveys, for the school.
I'm sorry I'm always late with dinner money, and trip fees.
I'm sorry I never manned a stall at the summer Fayre, or even attended to support you. We really wanted to come I promise we tried.
I’m sorry to my child for forgetting to print those important family photos that you need for your topic, "all about me" I feel really bad I could've cried when I saw all the children bringing theirs in and you were empty handed.
I'm sorry that I forgot it was your class assembly this morning, when you got a certificate for settling in to year one really well. I told you a little lie. I wasn't standing at the back; you see my life has been taken over with Special education meetings and hospital appointments. I forgot. It hurts.
I'm sorry that we forgot it was your friend’s birthday party on Saturday, I wrote it down, and I RSVP'd, and somehow the weekend just passed us by. I'm sorry I made you miss you out.
I’m sorry I sent you to school in non-uniform, a week early. I didn't get the memo that it had changed.
When you both were waiting for me on the field in school for our family picnic day, I'm sorry I didn't have a chance to tell you I wouldn't make it, I was called to an urgent meeting and it was vital to attend, I made sure you had another parent to sit with though, but it still doesn't take away the guilt I felt that day.
I'm sorry I never made it to your trip with preschool, I was supposed to come but I had to work that day, I was told you had a good time.
I'm even more sorry that when it was your sister's turn for that trip two years later, I had to arrange for her to go with staff because yet again another VERY important appointment was made at the chosen SEN school and I HAD to attend. I'm even more sorry that because she didn't have an adult with her she was allowed no ice cream, she was not allowed in the splash pool, and she burnt to a crisp! I was very sad that day.
There are lots of things I could have written here; lots of things I've missed out on, my children have missed out on.
I feel very guilty for not being able to fulfil everything that is required of me as a parent.
But most of all I'm sorry that this has to happen at all. I'm sorry for every other parent of children with disabilities that feel like me on occasion, or even for some people every single day.
You do your best every minute of every single day. You are a GOOD parent.
You see, the reasons that I missed loads of these things. Or forgot to do others isn't because I'm a bad parent; it isn't because I don't care or I am lazy or just so damn unorganised.
It's because I do care, and you do too. Because each time I've forgotten or missed something, is because I was advocating for my child, or working to provide for them, or just simply because there was so many things to organise in my brain for all of my three children, two with disabilities and a disabled partner that I don't get to enjoy you as I should.
I want to enjoy you; I want you to enjoy me. But I need to protect your future. I need to advocate so strongly that I'm missing out on your happiness.
I'm hopeful that this is beginning to change now we have the appropriate schooling for you all. It took a few years, and a lot of hard work. But the impact it's had already is immense.
So if you feel like a failure, just remember that while you were missing that assembly, you secured an EHCP for your complex child with numerous disabilities.
And when you couldn't make that summer fayre, you'd just spent two hours trying to calm an anxious child in the middle of a meltdown.
When you forgot to bake those cakes, it was because you were reading soothing stories to your children who couldn't sleep that night, and placating the others because of the violent outburst that ripped through the whole family.
When you missed those school trips, and family school gatherings, you were accompanying your disabled partner, or your disabled child to a very important hospital appointment for an MRI scan.
And above all else, give yourself a break; stop being so hard on yourself. You’re doing an amazing job.
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