Frustration

This week has been frustrating. So frustrating.

It’s been as tough a week that I can remember on this school at home project. Links with a number of teachers have become very strained. I bet the teachers are as desperate for the upcoming week break as we are.

Work has been a struggle. What can you do when so many are off with Covid. Not enough people still standing to cover the jobs. As much as I move the pieces around I’m always going to be short. Oh yes, sorry, apparently the pandemic is over….

My diet is a struggle. It’s a gluten and dairy free life for me at present. Yet those items are strangely unavailable at our local stores. Clearly the gluten free wagons are stuck somewhere trying to get into this brexit wonderland. I guess it’s a week of mostly jacket potatoes. I know what Matt Damon feels like in The Martian now….

Wow I need a break. But that break seems further away than ever. If only I could be Boris Johnson. Tell everyone we are in this together, take £20 a week off the poorest in our country then jump on a jet for a weeks painting and drinking at a Billionaires pad in the sun.

Dreams of a much better life are there. Stronger than ever. Just not this week. Not any time soon. Need to be patient.

Sleep. I find it’s a commodity vastly overrated but actually much needed….

And yet…..

If I just look up it’s amazing what I can find even on a 1 minute walk to the postbox.

There is always something to hold on to. There is always hope. When I focus on what really matters to me. The amazing in my life. I realise actually it’s still a wonderful life. Yes I’m ready to go again…..

Rainbows

One rainbow makes the last 24 hours of rain worthwhile.

One day the dark times my country are experiencing under this charlatan of a leader will be over and a true rainbow will be there. I just want to give you the words of our Rogue Prime Minister yesterday live on TV. Strangely not being publicised by his friends in the media but it’s telling of his character. So telling.

I’ve given you the most important metric, which is – never mind life expectancy, never mind, you know, cancer outcomes – look at wage growth,”

This man would happily unplug your life support to charge up his mobile phone. One day he will be history, just a really bad memory. Until he is gone then he will continue to destroy and ruin so many life’s.

As dark and as difficult as life can seem, a rainbow might just be around the corner.

Another school at home week dawns in a few hours. How long can we give this. Today Hawklad seems further than ever from a return to the classroom. I am convinced more than ever that his learning lies elsewhere. But is his call. His future. Is it better to stick in this less than ideal course until after his exams in 18 months time or is it better to twist now. On top of his anxieties he is wrestling with these thoughts. My job is to support him and to keep reminding him that as tough as it seems, that rainbow may be closer than he imagines.

Anniversaries

Another year and another anniversary. Time passes. It never stops. It never stops.

These words will go live almost 5 years to the minute when I received that call from the Hospice. That conversation has faded into the mists of time now. I remember just a few words “I am so sorry”.

The first two anniversaries were so tough. I was in a bleak place. I couldn’t understand why my time had stopped but the world kept turning. It never missed a beat. How could that be possible. One thought dominated. Why her, why not me. The wrong person went. Over an over, the same thought. I was kinda rooted to the spot. No dreams left intact. Living purely through the eyes of our son.

Now it’s 5 years. What does an anniversary feel like now.

More like any other day. Does that sound bad….Even for me time doesn’t stop. Yes some moments spent remembering. Maybe not enough moments. But I know now. Those times have gone. The good and bad times. Just memories now. Time has moved on. I have moved on. New Dreams. Time moves on.

I won’t lie to you. Yes I still sometimes think -‘maybe it should have been me’. But……There is a phrase that can grind on me but in this case it’s true.

It is what it is.

Yes it is. That’s how it’s worked out. I can’t change it.

Memories are in the past, locked in time. I need to deal with today. Yes it’s an anniversary but it’s also another parenting day. Time doesn’t stop, even on an anniversary. Yes hopefully time for memories but also time to dream.

So how does this anniversary feel. Important YES but i realise it’s just about the past. Important but not as important living. So what does it feel like. It feels like today. It feels like the gateway to the future.

Memories will come but forgive me I need to dream first.

Broken

A long and winding road if you can find it.

You kind of assume that your country is geared up to support its young people. That they matter. Well they should matter and countries should be geared up. But this is Britain, where support and mental health services have been under funded and in recent times cut back. Britain which has a Government that wants to return to ‘good old Victorian values’. Britain where children are only seen in terms of future economic value. In Britain where support is frowned upon by those in charge. In Britain where children taking time off in the immediate aftermath of a significant bereavement is described by the Government as ‘extended holidays’.

In 2016 Hawklad lost his granny and mum within 6 weeks of each other. A traumatic experience for anyone but for an 8 year old with Aspergers, it’s an emotional maelstrom. But here’s the thing. Sadly he won’t be the only child in this position. But where’s the support. Schools are not set up to cope. In Hawklads case the school cared but where clueless. The specialised education services in the area had been effectively closed down to meet savings targets. I approached his Doctor who just referred to child mental health services. He warned that they had a backlog of cases. That was all the Doctor did. Hawklad was already on the waiting list for Aspergers support.

That was it for over a year. No support. Left up to me, someone who was struggling already. How do you start to help someone when you are broken.

Finally we got to see the Child Mental Health Team. They worked on anxiety issues but no bereavement counselling, no Aspergers support. Luckily his dedicated worker was wonderful and she did try but it was not her area of expertise.

Fast forward to 2021 and Hawklad still has not had any bereavement counselling. Taking a wider view. He had some help with a physiotherapist but that was cut. He started speech therapy but that service was cut. He has had a few months of Aspergers related support but the specialist retired and was not replaced. He has had no dyslexia support. He does get some support for anxiety but that is patchy.

AND he is one of the lucky ones in Britain….

It has to be better than this for all our children. THEY ARE NOT JUST ECONOMIC RESOURCES. It won’t change here under this Government, it will only get worse. BRITAIN is BROKEN when it can’t care for its children.

Childhood

Do you remember when school holidays meant time off for our kids….

Hawklad and I received emails from school this morning. The emails set out the times of the upcoming year exams. Straight after the half term week holiday. The emails listed all the areas which each pupil are expected to cover in revision. The revision also includes mandatory online tasks that won’t be marked but will be monitored by teachers. All tasks are expected to be completed. The email stressed that they are expecting pupils to undertake significant work levels over the week off…..

To be fair to school they are only following Government guidelines and instructions. The Government has repeatedly spoken of its desire to increase the length of the school day and reduce the number of school holidays. It believes children have too much time off. They have it too easy…..

Parents will have differing views on this. I think you might be able to guess my take on this. I think it’s all BS…… Making pupils work harder and longer is just a smokescreen for covering up the failings of our current school system. Too many trumped up experts getting jobs as politicians, thinking they know best. It shouldn’t be about the quantity of teaching, it should be about the QUALITY of the education.

Ban politicians from education. Let teachers teach… Let Headmaster run the school. Involve the pupils and parents fully. Reverse the trend to test at every level just to populate government performance league tables. We are even testing 5 year olds for pity sake. If the politicians want to do something useful then they should concentrate on finding the resources to help specialists deal with the growing mental health crisis amongst our children.

And above all. Let children enjoy their childhood.

Call

The mobile phone is leading a charmed life. Yesterday it found its way into the garden refuse bin. Today as I weeded suddenly the little bucket next to me I was filling with weeds started playing music. Never been so thankful for one of those nuisance marketing call.

With the mobile safely back in my pocket. I got back on with the job of weeding.

Then another call. A work call. 60 minutes worth of …… what’s the word I’m looking for. I can think of a few, some I can even safely write down…

Boring

Dragging

Tiring

Fruitless

Frustrating

Dull

Monotonous

Wearisome

Mind-numbing

Soul-destroying

Insipid

Stupefying

After 60 minutes I was so tempted to switch the mobile off and voluntarily drop it back in the garden waste bin. I’m old enough to remember a time before mobile technology AND today I vote for going back to then….

Blue sky or not blue sky

Sunshine, blue sky, dark cloud, storm clouds, dry, rain, snow, bright, dark.

That Yorkshire sky really sums up perfectly my mood levels since lockdown started. It’s a bit of everything really. Swinging from smiles to tear. Feeling full of the joys of spring to darkest winter coldness. Optimistic then pessimistic. Feeling contented then feeling boxed in. Calm then anxious. At ease with the world then frustrated.

Emotional never ending tides.

Yesterday I was fighting the tears. Life seemed bleak and so restrictive. Definitely feeling cut adrift, isolated and alone.

Yet today I can’t stop smiling. Ok life feels constrained but it also feels good. Filled with HOPE and WONDERFUL thoughts. Most definitely not feeling alone rather feeling part of a BEAUTIFUL world.

Ask me yesterday and I would say what am I doing. Today it’s WE can do this.

I’m the same person, I’ve not moved, I’ve not won the money lottery. No person or no asset has entered my world. So why the swing in mood. Could it be that we are permanently riding those emotional waves. Swings in outlook are to be expected. Good moments, bad moments. Maybe the secret is to look at each day. What are the things that weigh me down and try to do something about those. Then most importantly work out what are the things that lift me up so much. If you can identify those things (maybe it’s just one important thing) then keep trying to move towards those wonderful things in life.

Yes WE can do this.

Toe

Some things in life are naturally beautiful and guaranteed to make you smile.

One of those days. Not enough sleep. School at home was a pain in the buttocks. WordPress continued to act like an incompetent evil overlord. An upcoming concert I was really looking forward to (which had already been rescheduled from last year) was cancelled. Smashed some cups (unintentionally). THEN Hawklad decided to walk into wooden table and clearly has broken his little toe. At least I can see evidence that some of my genes have passed down the family line. Nothing we can do except get him to rest up for a few days.

So in need of distraction I decided to strike one item off the growing DIY list. Let’s put the external mail box back on the wall. Much drilling, much banging, much muttering, much screwing. The mail box was up. Not a bad job at all. Level and well secured. Shame it was upside down…… Not sure what the Postman would think of a letter slot at the bottom. Not the first time my DIY has taken a walk to the a Southern Hemisphere. Summed up the day…..

On days like this those things that make you smile are even more important. Even more treasured.

Let’s set the record straight

It’s amazing how dealing with just a couple of work emails can send me heading towards the chocolate jar and thinking fondly of getting marooned on a tropical island with absolutely ZERO internet connectivity.

I needed to relax.

What better way than dig out a bit of vinyl and listen to music. I love music BUT not enough to carefully categorise and sort the LPs into any meaningful order. Preferring the random, hotchpotch approach. So this afternoon I opened one of the storage cases and grabbed 3 records. Let’s see what musical treats came my way.

First off a definite blast from my long hair, rocker past. I think most teenage rocking males of my generation would claim to have at least one Pat Benatar album somewhere in the bedroom.

Then an odd LP. Sometimes you buy because you love the band. Sometimes you buy because of the music. Then other times you buy because it’s a cool looking picture disc.

Then finally arguably my most random records. When I was 12 I jumped on a plane for the first time. Headed for my only trip so far to the Southern Hemisphere. To visit my big sister who had emigrated to South Africa. A month in Pretoria and Johannesburg. A staggeringly beautiful yet scary and incomprehensible Apartheid dominated land. My sister lived in an area which was still to have a functioning television service. So they listened to the radio, played records and at weekends either went to the cinema drive-in or hired a movie reel and played it on the noisy home super 8 projector.

My sister always seemed to play one record back then. IPI TOMBI. A show featuring traditional indigenous South African music. Fast forward many years and I was at a car boot sale in deepest Yorkshire. Guess what I found. Brings back so many memories.

Weather

It’s horrid weather today so let’s go back a few weeks. That’s better.

I heard someone from the Government brush off a parent talking about her daughters genuine fears and phobias about returning to school. Her daughter doesn’t think her classroom and school is safe enough. From the sound of it her daughter is in a similar place to Hawklad. Really struggling. The interviewer cut off the parent saying that she was in the minority and the vast majority would see things much more positively. The message from the Government followed instantly. People and kids who had concerns and fears needed to listen to the majority. Schools are completely safe, just get on with it. Parents have an obligation to send their children into schools when they open.

Meanwhile back here the NHS Psychologist is just at the early stages of a treatment programme to try and help with Hawklad’s deep seated anxieties. No guarantee that the programme will ever work. This week’s task is for Hawklad to try and stand in the front garden for 1 minute. The message is don’t worry if you can’t do that. Even a few seconds will be a massive leap of faith. And if he can’t do it at all then we can try another week. Pushing people with significant fears and ingrained anxieties can do so much harm to their long term mental health.

The Government and the ‘Majority’ are not trained mental health practitioners. They have absolutely no idea what some people are going through. On this issue they can stand out in the rain and whistle for all I care.