You know that saying “he’s got an old head on his shoulders” and all those things people say about your kids. I’ve always smiled and agreed, my precious boy is overflowing with wisdom and compassion way beyond his years. I’ve had strangers comment on his impeccable manners and now seeing him bond with his baby sister just fills me with so much pride I could burst. But these people don’t know the half of it, they haven’t even scratched the surface of this courageous, caring and special soul.
What started this train of thought was a video I watched on Facebook. Oh. Dear. God. Do not watch if you’re low on sleep/carbs or feeling in any way over emotional. Its entitled “Slow Down” and it’s basically a lovely song about how fast our kids grow up, those blink and you’ll miss it moments and a lovely reminder to slow down and enjoy every little thing. Watch the video here and let me know how much you cried!
I guess I’m feeling proud, proud that I’ve managed to keep another human alive for a decade. Proud that he always says please and thank you and proud that he does well at school. What we all want and expect of our children. The thing is, my darling E has had some hurdles, a few hiccups and setbacks along the way. The first being before he was even born when he was diagnosed with a Lung Condition in the womb. This resulted in major surgery at 2years old. They say at 2 years old children don’t remember anything, however E is convinced his earliest memory is lying on white sheets looking up at a blue curtain and white circle lights. I’m not sure how true this is but it makes me sad nonetheless as my own earliest memory is a happy one.
Fast forward to 2013, he’s settled in at school, excelling in class and at sports. Every Wednesday myself and another parent would take it in turns to take the boys to football after school. It was the other mums turn so I finished work and went off to do some food shopping. I had no phone service in the supermarket and when I got out I had a missed call from the mother. She’d left a voicemail.
E had been knocked over at a pedestrian crossing. He stepped out at the green man just as a woman jumped a red light. He suffered a broken collar bone, facial lacerations and bruises. The next few hours were a blur, from rushing to the scene in the rain, getting in the ambulance and seeing my baby in tears, terrified. I had to be brave for him. He’d just celebrated his birthday a few days earlier and was sad the paramedics had to cut off his new Arsenal tracksuit. It’s funny the things that stick in your head.
We were discharged the following day to echoes of “you’re a very lucky boy” Doctors, family and friends kept saying how lucky he was, that it wasn’t more serious. But in my 8 year olds head, he wondered how?! How am I lucky? he asked me. He was right, I couldn’t answer. He’d just been knocked down at a crossing that every adult drums into you is safe. Wait for the green man, it’s safe. He did everything by the book yet this happened. He didn’t feel very lucky at all. As the days passed he listened to me talking to family members and friends about what happened, one morning he stopped me as I spoke and said “don’t be cross with the lady mummy, she will be sad too” This sentence alone sums up the solicitude and consideration he always olds for others, even before himself.
The bones healed, the scars faded but what was bubbling underneath and far more serious than I’d ever considered was his mental and emotional wellbeing. The stress of what happened took its toll, he became almost reclusive. He was going to school but wouldn’t go to friends houses, not even family without me or his dad. He’d turn down play dates and birthday parties, giving the reason “I’d rather be with you mummy” The separation anxiety was worse than ever. He’d ask me things at night like “what would happen if you died?” Or “how do I know nothing will happen to you when you come to pick me up tomorrow” E also began suffering panic attacks, his heart would pound, palms sweating and inconsolable crying would ensue. I’d hold him, breathe with him and count with him. He’d complain of feeling sick, dizzy or short of breath. One night bizarre as it sounds, he was hysterical as he thought he couldn’t yawn anymore and the more he tried the harder it became. My special little soul was diagnosed with Post traumatic stress disorder as a direct result of the accident. Until it was staring me in the face I just always thought of PTSD as something grown ups got, soldiers after leaving warzones and that sort of thing. Not my child. He was offered some therapy which we attended, I guess it helped. But from a 10year olds point of view he wondered why we had to keep taking about everything that had happened as it just reminded him and made him feel sad again. I just think it’s been a natural progression for him and he’s finally leaving the past behind. He’s had moments of “why is it always me that bad things happen to” (I haven’t mentioned the split head, black eye and broken arm that have happened since the accident!) but generally he’s so much more positive. One thing I do want to shout about is the amazing @yesmummum and her super special Yes Mum Mini cards. Positive aspirations are a simple yet effective way of reminding our little people of how awesome they are and that everything is going to be ok. The last year or so he’s turned a real corner and next week is our first big test. He’s off on a school residential! Think I will be the one crying into my pillow that night rather than him!