There’s a lot on my mind!

Another wonderful blog award has come my way.  I know many bloggers are very cynical about these, comparing them to chain letters, but for me, spreading appreciation, kindness and sharing wonderful writers is nothing but good!  However, tonight is not that post because I have neither the enrgy nor the time to dedicate to it…

I have a huge amount of untangling to do with regards to a recent news story: that of a mother who “stole” her son away from doctors.  The little boy has a brain tumour and radiotherapy is the next course of treatment.  His mother says no.  As a mother with some experience of childhood cancer and with many, many (far too many) online friends whose children have and had cancer I believe very strongly that a patient (and in the case of young children their parents) must have the choice to refuse aggressive, damaging treatment, especially when results are far from guaranteed.  It’s a very controversial topic, I’m aware.  Which is why tonight will not be the night for that post either!

Mental health!!  There’s another thorny tangle in my mind.  I have, over the past several years, had a number of battles with depression.  My biggest hurdle, and that of doctors trying to help me, is that my depression is not clinical.  I think they call it situational.  Of course, the stresses of my life tend to go on long enough that what is initially situational does turn quite major and clinical.  And the horrid thing about depression is that once it takes hold, there is no “just get on with it”  available to you.  I’m not far from having to decide whether I need to consider anti-depressants again, but it is a tangly question.  I’m not against them as such, they got me through a very difficult period.  But they come with side effects both physical and psychological, and I’d rather not!  It’s a tangly tangle that would certainly benefit from some writing to simplify it.  Again, too thorny for tonight!

Which brings me to the conclusion that although I have much that I need to lay on the page in order to gain a little clarity, I have to wait for some emotional energy to return after a gruelling couple of weeks.  And yet, I need to write because the act in itself is so beneficial to my state of mind.  And also because I know that in writing here, I am able to share a little of myself with loved ones who live too far to knock on my door and make me a cup of tea!!

So tonight’s topic is that Family Day I promised us on Thursday!  As with all such promises it involved high expectations and thus came with a few little lows, but on the whole we had a lovely day.

I began with a surge of adrenaline equivalent to that experienced by a normal person doing a bungee jump.  (My brain provides me with utterly excessive amounts of the stuff for ridiculous reasons – I hate this chemical more than you might think, and cannot for the life of me understand those who actively seek it!) In this instance, I was quite stressed because I was expected at school to accompany the choir for its Christmas concert.  This would have been absolutely fine if it had been held in the afternoon as scheduled.  Instead, the time was changed at the last minute and the concert was held in the morning.  Which left me double booked, with the children having their Christmas ride at ten o’clock.

With a little ingenuity and the advantage of having two vehicles, Darling Man and I had worked out a plan that would get the children and their teaching assistants to the stable on time, and me as close behind as I could.  I duly took the children to school in the car, only to get out of a badly smelling automobile – drat that Sod who rules my life!!!  (For those who do not know it, I refer to Sod’s Law… click away!)  Having phoned Darling Man he appeared unsurprised, having experienced a similar problem recently (could he not have warned me???!!!).  On top of a high level of adrenaline to start the morning, I experienced another little surge… heart rate jumped a little higher, acid reflux good morning… oh the fun!!!

We decided that Darling Man would collect the four as  previously arranged, and would wait for me with engine running…

I cannot say that I enjoyed the concert.  Everybody performed very well, but my mind was firmly on the clock…  Heart rate loud and fast, and frankly interfering with my ability to keep time comfortably.  How tempting it was to speed up the choir pieces (with the excuse that I couldn’t see the conductor!).  I didn’t, because I am basically good!!!

And goodness won, because I left at ten o’clock and was at the school door before the children!  Hurrah for me!  Of course, my body was not so quick to respond and it was about forty five minutes before all bodily functions returned to a satisfactory base line…

I love to see that real smile... Thank you RDA!

I love to see that real smile… Thank you RDA!

I have not written yet about the amazing organisation that is Riding for the Disabled, but that is another post waiting patiently to be written.  Little Man has been riding with them for about two years now, and we have seen astounding improvement in his core stability and strength.  Sweet Girl has just started and for both children, this half hour of the week shows them at their best.  They smile, they are truly happy.  They feel safe and cared for by staff, volunteers, parents and ponies.  They each have “their” pony, and a real bond builds over time.  Little Man has been riding Jim Bob since he started, and Perry is Sweet Girl’s pony.  She shows real promise as a rider,but what the experience offers her is a chance to build on her self esteem, a time to let go and be herself without judgement, and the emotional support without which she could not manage this activity.  Despite her ability, she would not have the confidence or courage to ride in a more conventional class.


Tom is absolutely in his element… his riding school, with Jim Bob on the way, dress up and Christmas music. Happy lad!

Christmas ride… so much fun!!  The ponies get dressed up with tinsel (well, not Rollo, who cannot abide dressing up… we suspect he may be autistic).  His rider from our group is an amazing little boy who also has autism, and agrees wholeheartedly with Rollo on the subject of disguises.  Along with a giant Christmas tree in one corner of the riding school is lovely cheesy Christmas music, and the ponies, children and volunteers then perform their ride.  This is choreographed so that the ponies perform figures of eight, allow those children who are able to to show off their trotting, and generally show themselves to their best.  The children are usually asked to wear red, which while a great idea is quite tricky over a big winter coat.  In view of this, I chose to make some tabards that would be easy enough for most children to manage (large head holes, no armholes to negotiate), and would not flap as this can spook the ponies.  In the event, only my two chose to wear them, but I have now donated the five tabards to our RDA group in the hope that they will be enjoyed by other children too.

Little Man is helped full time at school by the lovely, straightforward and dependable Mrs K, while Mrs V helps Sweet Girl at the beginning of each school day.  Both of these wonderful ladies have a lovely affinity for my children and make school possible for them.  It was a real pleasure to be able to invite them to this event, and they both seemed to enjoy themselves thoroughly – despite the cold!  It has to be said that Santa was very slow to hand out his presents this year, and our toes were froze by the end!!!  A cake and drink in the hut helped warm our cockles before we headed back to school to drop off the grown-ups, and home with our outlaw Little Man! (Sweet Girl is only able to be at school in the mornings at the moment, so we were only “stealing” Little Man away).


Christmas tree 2012

Christmas tree 2012

We had a very gentle and slow afternoon.  A family viewing of “Love Actually” to start the Christmas season, and then decorating the Christmas tree.  Darling Man found a selection of Christmas music to accompany our job, and the children had great fun rediscovering our baubles and decorations.  As with all such activities it was over in a whirl and left the children high as kites, and the grown ups exhausted and a little flat! 😀

We now have a lovely, warm sitting room with a beautiful Christmas tree.  Next week, we are to have the visit of a chimney sweep so that we can an open fire to the picture, and some marshmallows on sticks for the perfect evening!

Family Day was good!