|Meeting the Bunny at my party|
|Singing with my friends!|
Christmas swiftly followed bringing some well needed time with the whole extended family. Again laughter is generally the key feature of these get-togethers. Watching my husband, brother, brother in law trying to build a dolls house and a ride on car on Christmas Eve the wrong side of a few festive drinks was one to remember.
New Year was spent with friends on, a very windy, Isle of Wight. I can't remember the last time I felt so relaxed away from home. Quality time with old friends and their children, lots of food, drink, games and once again laughter. An awesome few days.
The most significant thing throughout the whole of December was the normality, the total absence of any worries about Mojo's health or happiness. She was as content as I've ever known her to be and completely well, eating, sleeping (after a fashion!) and we were just a normal family. No big deals needed to be made, she ate and played happily with her cousins and friends. She was just Mojo and we were just us. We were unrestricted, unstressed and unextraordinary.
Still in this frame of mind, feeling pretty invincibly normal, I found myself at the start of January in a seminar at the Enhanced Children's Centre. The seminar was an introduction to a course which is being offered to parents of children with multiple and complex needs. It is a tremendous resource and something which we are very lucky to be able to access. The course addresses many of the big issues we as parents face. It provides support and a safe environment to off load problems and feelings. The summary of objectives and topics covered felt, to me, like a smack in the face. It was a reminder that despite how normal we might feel, we are not. We are a family who face so many things which we have not even thought about yet. While we have found our stride now, this only served to bring into sharp focus the future and it wasn't something I was ready for. I have a very over-developed sense of empathy and I find it agonising to see the pain in other mothers as they talk about diagnosis and prognosis and daily life sadness they live with. I find myself thinking, God that must be awful, how do you cope. Then I realise that we are in the same boat. For a very innocuous meeting it turned into a fairly significant challenge on my sense of identity. Am I in denial? Does anyone view themselves in the way the world views them ('poor them')? I don't think I'm ready to take on the emotional impact of this course just yet, despite the rational side of me being able to see the obvious benefits of it.
One very positive thing that did emerge from the meeting was one way that I could categorically differentiate my experiences with those being discussed by others. I, of course, will not go into the details of other people's stories, absolutely inappropriate. What I can say is that not once have I felt that any of my friends or family have been embarrassed, ashamed or even socially awkward with us since Mojo was diagnosed during my pregnancy. Nothing has changed, we don't get tilty-headed sympathy, we are not secretly* or otherwise excluded from playdates, we are just us. I think that makes us very lucky to have such brilliant friends and family. So because I don't say it enough, you guys rock, thank you.
To end on another completely exciting note Mojo's language is suddenly developing at an astonishing rate with all kinds of new noises emerging, the most beautiful of which is ma-ma. I could listen to her say that all day. Troublingly the other word she has developed a love for is Elephant. My own mum pointed out that we must hope she does not come to associate the two new words as she's leant them at the same time. Thanks mum!
*Am presuming, dear friends, that you not having loads of secret parties without us :-)