It’s so easy to become bogged down in the daily grind of life and to forget just how lucky we are. I find myself focusing on the negative aspects and forget to take a deep breath, look around me and see just how incredibly blessed I am. I have five gorgeous children, live in a beautiful home, have money to pay my bills, am in good health and, most of the time, feel pretty happy. My children have had minor health issues like eczema and asthma, a couple have dyslexia, we’ve had a couple of broken bones, three operations and the usual viruses that may involve the odd broken night’s sleep followed by a couple of days of enforced idleness snuggled up on a sofa watching films and dispensing cuddles -what a hardship! I think I’ve had a bad day because I did a load of washing without finding the scrunched up tissue in a trouser pocket and so have fluffy clothes. I think I’ve had a bad day because I’ve had a grocery delivery minus the one vital ingredient for the recipe I want to cook. I think I’ve had a bad day because my children have left their dirty laundry on the floor rather than in the laundry basket. I need to wake up and smell the coffee. I am lucky, oh so very, very lucky to have such minor problems in my life when some people are faced with an uphill struggle every single day of their lives.
I know that I have been fortunate; I’ve had my fair share of sadness in my life but have been so lucky with my children and have never had to deal with any critical illnesses. When my second child was twelve he experienced considerable pain in his feet and had to have operations on each of them to remove some extra pieces of bone that had fused together and were reducing mobility. He was reliant on crutches for a 6 to 7 month period, the beginning of which coincided with the start of the long summer holidays. It was such a difficult time for the whole family as his lack of mobility affected everybody’s activities. At one point he was in a wheelchair and we would visit places we had been to many times before when I had children in a double buggy, assuming that if it was easy to push a buggy round then a wheelchair would be fine. How wrong I was; at one point he was nearly thrown out and catapulted over a fence into an animal enclosure. He felt self-conscious, hating the way people viewed him and we all became frustrated by people’s un-helpfulness: their failure to open shop doors for us, their refusal to make way on footpaths, their lack of consideration in car parks.
I was lucky enough to have a close friend who agreed to stay with us while my son had his operations and was immobile, so that there would always be another adult on hand. Without this support it would have been nearby impossible to meet the needs of my other children who still needed to be ferried around, still needed to be taken to school, still got ill themselves, still needed fun. It was a horrible time, a period when we ended up sitting around far too much watching TV and eating chocolate and a period when minor squabbles turned into more dramatic affairs. But we all knew that it would end and that it would end soon. And although my son had reduced mobility, he could function perfectly in every other way and was in very little pain. How different it is for those families dealing with disability on a daily basis and especially for those who don’t have a good enough support network, who don’t have the money or time to access the resources that they need. How different it is for people living in Africa who, on top of dealing with illness have no access to clean water. How different it is for people who have no home, no family, no friends.
I feel ashamed that I worry about the little things although I know that that is human nature. I feel ashamed that I don’t give enough thought to people who need my help. I feel ashamed that I have so much and complain when other people have so little and yet remain stubbornly positive.
I’m not going to say that I will never complain again – I will be nagging my boys later about all the usual things as surely as night will follow day – but I am going to make more effort to give thanks for all that I have and to do more to help others. We all need to have more understanding of people who face challenges and we all need to do everything in our power to campaign for the help they so richly deserve.
This post has been inspired by reading Nate’s story http://theaandnatesmam.blogspot.co.uk