As I write this, it’s the middle of the night, way past my bed time really considering I’m to be up for work in the morning. The house is finally quiet after yet another bed time drama with the boys.
You see, we used to have a superstition when I worked in A&E about the “Q” word. You weren’t to say it. Nobody was to say it. Anybody who dared to utter the word aloud would immediately cast a curse across the entire department, rendering the rest of the shift nothing but a chaotic mess; a whirlwind of illnesses and injuries would come pouring forth through the doors, as if every single human within a 20 mile radius had heard and decided that now was the time they must fight their way into the department for that four year history of back pain; that somehow our magic painkillers would fix them forever, yet the exact same analgesia sitting gathering dust in their home would not…
My life, unfortunately, follows a very similar path to the “Q” word superstition. Whenever I feel settled or comfortable with a situation, or as though something is working exactly the way it should, a curse is cast upon my very being, sent down to prove me wrong. Whenever I think that things are easing – because they couldn’t possibly get worse right? – I am proven very, very wrong.
The boys are the prime example of this situation. Where one problem is solved, another two pop up in its place. Take, for instance, Norman’s “fixed term exclusion” on Monday of last week. Back in my day, they were called “suspensions”, and they were never something my parents had to concern themselves with. Oh wait… did someone just say the Q word?? One fixed term exclusion dealt with, home schooling completed (after a fashion anyway, I am no teacher!), and lo and behold, another two fixed term exclusions pop up in its place! Who would’ve thought!
My boy managed to spend just three mornings in school last week, despite being both vulnerable, and the child of a key worker. Marvin, however, did very well and behaved nicely all week! I don’t blame the school. I empathise with the teachers and children that become privy to Norman’s outbursts, not least because my experience tells me that when you get too close, you may well end up getting walloped as a result. You may think he’s not been taught right from wrong, but I can assure you he has. You may think that my parenting is deficient in some way, and I suppose I would have to agree. But, like most people, I’m doing my very best.
The truth is, a year of being cooped up, of missing his extended family, of not being able to blow off steam during a weekend by running around a football pitch or bouncing on a “jumpaleen” for an hour (£8 each, and worth Every. Single. Penny.), well, it’s taken its toll. It’s rejection. It’s abandonment. It’s trauma.
For any child, and any adult for that matter, the last year has been confusing, complicated, and most of all, bloody lonely. For children like Norman and Marvin, it has reinforced all of the bad things that they thought. It’s been their “Q Word”, it has triggered all manner of behaviours that you can’t even imagine unless you’re living full time in the pressure cooker of our lives. Chuck in a new house and separating parents, well, haven’t you just got yourself a little party eh?
We miss normality. We miss trips to the park, or the playcentre, or the jumpaleens. We miss Grandmas, and Granddad, and Grandpa. We miss aunties and uncles. * The last year has cost my boys dearly. We hope normality returns soon.
(* one just for me, I’m sure Norman and Marvin don’t give a tiny rat’s ass, but I miss squishing yarn in shops then buying it!)
Done some knitting. Obviously.