“But what do you do all day?” Is a question I am sometimes asked and, well, I don’t like to be impolite but, seeing as you asked (and even if you didn’t) I will try to answer it.
Today I went into battle. On the front line. I pushed back into enemy territory. My efforts were resisted but I persevered. I took ground that was being strongly defended. I claimed it for my severely Dyspraxic child who needed a service that was being denied. Today I was brave, but I was scared.
Today I was a Soldier.
Today I changed a broken feeding tube, in an emergency. I bathed an open wound and I administered yet another new medication. Today, as every day, I tube fed my child who cannot yet feed. I was scared, but I was brave.
Today I was a Nurse.
Today I learnt all about Proprioception and how understanding it could really help my Dyspraxic child. But first I need to learn to say it. Today was enlightening.
Today I was a Student.
Today I took my child who struggles with reading to Hogwarts. I read two entire chapters at bedtime. We found Platform 9 and 3/4, ate chocolate frogs and fought bravely against Lord Voldemort. Today was magical.
Today I was a Storyteller.
Today I gave my child a haircut at home. A trip to a hair salon too distressing for a child with sensory issues. Today my home became a salon. One with toys and television and iPads. Today I felt like I achieved the impossible.
Today I was a Hairdresser.
Today I trawled the internet. Endless articles on Down’s syndrome, on Dyspraxia, on Sensory Processing. Today I drank a lot of coffee.
Today I was a Researcher.
Today I made some gadgets and gizmos. Stress balloons filled with cornflour, spinning bottles that rattled with shiny shimmery beads and bells, ribbon twirlers, baskets brimming with tactile treasures. Today I had fun making toys that would help my children make sense of the world around them.
Today I was an Inventor.
Today I attended another appointment to discuss the needs of my children. The sixty something appointment this year. Yes, honestly. I’ve counted. Today I was early.
Today I was an Advocate.
Today I wrote a blog highlighting the discrimination faced by those with Down’s syndrome. I challenged the view held by many that my child should not even exist simply because she has an extra chromosome. I tweeted my MP. Today I got angry.
Today I was a Campaigner.
Today I watched my anxious child find new confidence in an activity she had previously not coped with. Today was brilliant.
Today I was a Cheerleader.
Today I lost count of the phone calls I made, the emails I sent. Today I opened yet more appointment letters on behalf of my children. I cancelled plans, I turned down invitations. I had to let people down. Today I despaired.
Today I was an Administrator.
Today my glass is half empty. Yesterday, it was half full. Tomorrow is a new day.
Today I am thankful for the glass.
Today I met with Trainee Doctors and told them about life with a child with Down’s syndrome. Today I busted some myths.
Today I was a Teacher.
Today I took my child for yet another blood test. I wrapped my whole body around hers as she wriggled, kicked and generally protested about this latest injustice. Today I tried hard not to cry.
Today I was a Wrestler.
Today I cradled my child as she drifted off to sleep under anaesthetic for yet another procedure. Gratefully surrounded by skilled, caring people who only want the best for her. Today I could not do any work.
Today I was broken.
Today I visited my child at school to watch her assembly. I saw her walk in. Slowly, gripping the hands of her teacher as she stepped tentatively into the hall. Her legs are getting stronger, her world is opening up. She is surrounded by the support, care and expertise of some incredible professionals. Today I thought my heart would burst.
Today I was the happiest woman alive.
I am a mother to two amazing children, both of whom have disabilities and additional needs, both of whom make me incredibly proud every single day.
Today, and every day, I have the best job in the world!