The Oxford English Dictionary defines a profession thus:
An occupation in which a professed knowledge of some subject, field or science is applied;
A vocation or career, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification;
In the last fifteen years, I have had training in teaching, behaviour management, psychology, nursing, medical research, food science and dietetics, special needs education, negotiation and advocacy, to name but a few areas of my professed subject, or field.
There is no formal qualification available to my vocation, my career, and I am not paid.
But make no mistake, I am utterly, absolutely a professional.
And you need me on your team.
I’ve alluded to the fact that as a mother of children with special needs, seemingly tiny and “normal” achievements acquire magnificent proportions.
Zack’s first hug overshadowed the birth of his sister on the afternoon of 15th December 2001. What to most families would seem normal and unremarkable (though lovely) is to us as big a milestone as first steps, first words.
Today was something of a milestone for me, and I was going to entitle my post “Milestones”. Until I started typing, and considered that Milestone implies measurably big progress. And what I experienced today was not “big” compared to Norm. And it was one of those things that epitomise the experience of being Mum to three special, quirky, struggling children. That experience is primarily defined by the JOY I feel each time an inchstone, yardstone or milestone is reached.
Zack’s made a lovely start to the new year at school, going back as though he was going home – it is wonderful to see how happy he is there and vindicates that dreadful, painful decision we made to send him away from home.
And today I received a phone call from staff at the school – usually a source of anxiety, frankly. In fact, not so long ago, the phone call was to inform us that Zack had gone missing – the darling kid had gone walkabout in the forest and only returned three hours later. Anxious parents, anxious staff, police etc etc etc… So a phone call from school is always a little unknown.
Happy news!! Zack has been invited to a friend’s house for the weekend to celebrate the friend’s birthday.
Inchstone? Well, in one sense yes. We know that Zack should be fine away from “home” for the night, and given his summer, I have every expectation that he will do me proud. How lovely to have a little part of me think “yes, absolutely”.
Yardstone? Yes! Birthday parties have not featured heavily in Zack’s life. Friends have not either. One of the wonderful things about his specialist school is that all the boys have a lot in common, and are far better able to forge friendships than in a “normal” school. So it is a joyous thing to hear that he is thought of well enough by another boy that this boy wants to share his home, his weekend with my son.
Milestone? Oh me, oh my! The trust involved in allowing him to go somewhere completely new, to a house I’ve never visited, for a whole weekend?! There’s a very normal “Mum” emotion wanting to keep that little bubble around him and never ever burst it. There’s a very “Benedicte” emotion not wanting to make another parent’s life difficult. There’s the knowledge that trust and Zack don’t really go well together. So what’s the right decision?? Once again, school to the rescue!!! With lots of thought and consideration, staff feel that this is a good step. This friendship is progressing very well and is worth nurturing. And actually, one of the main aims of the school is to help my darling Eldest to grow up – this weekend away will be a little step in that direction.
Inchstones, yarstones, milestones…
Every day, in every way!
I’ve no doubt I will be a little on edge between Friday and Saturday… but by inch, yard and mile, we’ll make it to Sunday and have a huge achievement to celebrate!