Definition: determine the behaviour or supervise the running of.
Striding to school the other day in the drizzle with seconds to spare I had an epiphany. As I simultaneously pushed Gabe’s pram, held aloft my Year 1 daughter’s spelling sheet shouting words at her as she lagged behind examining crushed snails AND wiping away my Year 3 son’s tomato stain on his jeans with spit (he was off on a school trip) while he sobbed about standing on said snails, I realised that I don’t really have this control thing well.. erm…. under control!
Just half an hour earlier I had been wailing (actually wailing) at my husband that I was a shambles, a complete shambles, as I couldn’t find oldest boy’s wellies for the school trip. He just gave me his “you are a nut job” face, handed me a pink zebra printed pair from the garage and hop footed it to work.
Instead of snapping into action and getting all offspring out of the door, I stared forlornly at the kitchen clock watching the hands tick over into the danger zone sipping my tea (fancying myself as one of those musing pensive creatures in cinema blockbusters having a sad moment just before they win the big dance competition). No one could possibly be as disorganised as me, I muttered. We are a dishevelled bunch of chancers, I whined. Who else is muddling their way through life in this shoddy fashion, I mediated.
This thought was compounded when I later did the dreaded walk of shame up the school path as all the organised mums made their way back the opposite way after successfully dropping off their beloved children vital minutes earlier. Here I was: shouting Play! Purse! They are just feffing snails! Crayon! Boat! and trailing a number of children including one boy in pink leopard print wellies. There they were: calm, punctual, hair brushed, shoes shined.
But then something marvellous happened. On the way back down the path after flinging children, bags and water bottles in the general direction of classroom doors (all of them shutting like the Jedi ship going on lock down; roll under the gaps at the bottom I yelled), I stumbled across a gaggle of stressed out mums. All of which were taking a collective sigh of relief. It was like I was visited by the ghosts of the Present from the Christmas Carol to make me realise that the world is full of juggling, fuddling, disorderly people pretending they know what they are doing in sole charge of small people.
It was just what I needed. To see that I am not alone. You see I have been struggling of late. The deck of cards called life that we have precariously stacked was starting to get a bit soggy at the bottom and was at risk of tumbling down.
It has been a tough three years but the last three or four weeks have been among the worse. Why? Simply because someone whispered in my ear: there is a better way. And you might be able to have it but it depends on a few things.
We recently got Gabriel’s statement of educational needs finalised and we went to look around a few special schools. It is not like normal school where you have to wait until the school year starts; if you have a place you can start using that place. Suddenly someone was saying to me “hey let us take Gabe for three school days and while we have him we will teach him stuff, use our specialist knowledge to bring out the best in him. We’ll do his therapies, help him with his communication, take him swimming, and give him access to the most wonderful sensory garden. Does that sound good?”
So good. Too good. There must be a catch.
There is. “We are full so we’ll have to see if we can get funding.”
Nooooo – please don’t give with one hand and take away with another.
While I have been waiting, I had a good look at our life and slowly I’ve been realising this is not coping, this is treading water and I hadn’t noticed how tired my legs were.
You see I’ve had this marvellous flexible work arrangement with my employers for seven years now whereby I can do the equivalent of three day’s work on just two day’s childcare. Lately though, life has settled down and I have not wanted to work at weekends, I’ve had no energy to open the laptop when the children are finally asleep and settled post 8pm. And well really, Gabe doesn’t do nap times anymore. Days are so busy with therapy, appointments, and trying to stimulate a boy that is cognitively now so beyond rolling on the floor and shaking a rattle but his body won’t let him do more. His needs are changing and I am rapidly running out of ideas.
Then it came. On Friday. The call that will hopefully change all our lives. The school has secured his funding and he can start his new school imminently.
Life with a child like Gabe is the definition of having no control. I have no control over when (or if) he will walk or talk. I have no control over his future. Whether he will get sick. I can’t even control if he’ll sleep tonight or eat tomorrow. We live in the unknown.
But what we can now start to do is to take some control of the other areas of our lives. Start to be a bit more organised, find some free time to enjoy the things we used to, and get the work life balance thingy going. Mostly to find time to run in the woods or build a house with play bricks (and actually watch 902010 on time).
Bugger does this mean I now actually have to go the gym!
*quickly finds some more jobs*