All any of us want for our children – I think – is that they grow up to be happy individuals.

That they will thrive and flourish in whatever they choose to do and that, well, that they will be OK.

That when they leave home we’ll feel like we’ve done – at the very least – a ‘good enough’ job and that they will earn enough to put a roof over their heads…and they won’t pick up their peas with their knives.

At least not in company… It didn’t seem so much to ask for when we decided to have children.

And yet here I am.

Looking at my second born and wondering how this will be for him.

My little boy who relies on us for all his wants and needs and just assumes – because this is how it’s always been - that this will continue. And for as long as it can, my beautiful, sweet-natured boy, it will. For as long as I can carry you, wheel you, feed you… it will continue.

Always though is the fear at the back of my mind. What happens when I can no longer carry, wheel, feed… what happens when I am older, frailer, incapable of looking after him safely. What then?

As a parent you feel you have somehow failed if you can’t raise your children to be independent. But when we took on that contract with Alex, we had no idea we’d be starting so far back from the starting line.

We do all we can, but, ultimately… we will need this bigger society to look after him, love him and nurture him as we have.

I would like…I see no reason why we can’t change the outcome a little.

I don’t want Alex going to a residential home. Not like the ones I’ve seen in the news. Not like the ones I googled locally and then had to turn my head away from having first seen the inspection grades: ‘inadequate’, ‘needs improvement’ is not where I want to send my son.

Caring has been made into an unimportant role, one that almost isn’t a proper job, has no value… is paid pitifully… and that ripples out into the care provided… but to those being cared for, and their families, their carers mean the world.

Talking this over with a friend of mine recently we agreed that what we’d like is to buy somewhere… for our caring town to buy somewhere and run it independently.

Make it part of the community.

To employ people on living wages who would look after and develop our boys because they wanted to, because they knew they were valued and would work with the families to make this place a lifelong home.

Not just a house.

Not an institution.

I don’t think we’d be the first parents to do this.

I would love to hear from other people who have already made this work. You can get in touch with Helen by commenting below.

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