Two best friends from secondary school. My school trip room-mate. University weekends together. My bridesmaid. So many journeys together. This one, however, isn’t one that we planned. The Firefly Garden is for everyone connected to a child with special needs. This post for the Firefly Garden blog is by a friend to a special needs mum who would like to remain anonymous. She will post regularly about her experience of being a friend.
We were very excited to be pregnant together, me with my second child and her with her first. My due date was 17th June, with hers being the 24th June. Of course, as if it was a competition, I had to beat her to the maternity ward, and my son John was born on the 3rd June, with David following shortly after, on the 18th June. I, luckily, had a relatively easy labour, while she was not so lucky, with a very long labour and a long recovery.
However, I remember for the first six months after the births, I was constantly telling her that she had the model child. He slept a lot, and barely grumbled while my payback for the easy labour was a child who liked to cry and had horrendous colic! I recall saying ‘oh you are so lucky’ as I was exhausted, but now I realise how inappropriate those early comments were.
Fast forward to today. David and John are both 6. David is profoundly disabled with an undiagnosed condition, while John has reached all the milestones expected from him, with an additional added ‘cheeky attitude’ thrown in. Every day, I look at my best friend and think why her. It could have been me. It could have been you. It could be any of us.
This time, however, it was her. My best friend. The strongest, yet most emotional, of all my friends was given David. I often wonder: Could I do as good a job as she does? I simply cannot answer that. We simply don’t know how strong we are until we have been tested. I know that I am very fortunate to have her as a friend, but I am also, in some small way, almost grateful that I have not been tested with her role.
I am simply unsure if I could do it as well as she does. Her role as mum, doesn’t just involve packing lunches, checking teeth have been brushed, that clothes are clean while trying to ensure shoes are matching.
Her role is effectively managing numerous Doctors appointments, filling in forms that are specifically designed to make you feel stupid, ensuring all therapies are looked into, so David misses out on absolutely no opportunities, but also being his full time therapist and his advocate, all the while holding down a permanent job, and being a mother to her second son an adorable 4 year old.
So, if I feel lucky does that mean my friend is unlucky?
If you’re a friend to a carer or parent to a child with special needs the Firefly Garden is for you. Join today http://community.fireflyfriends.com/become-a-member
Or perhaps you wish you wish your friends understand a little bit more – why not share the become a member link and encourage them to get involved support our special needs campaigns and learn more about what it’s like to have a child with special needs.
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