Being a parent is sometimes quite hard, balancing your own wants and needs as an individual with that of a this small thing who wants independence but relies of you for so much. I’m lucky – I absolutely love being a Mom and TBK makes it easy. We have bumps in the road which we have to deal with, sometimes emotional sometimes physical but I always know we can get through it because long term there are no issues and these are only bumps, but what happens when that bump turns into a mountain?
I’ve been thinking a lot this last week about how hard some other parents have it,Â hard because life jumped up and smacked them in the mouth at the same time as hitting their child over the head with a sledge hammer. I am a fairly prolific twitter user and stay in touch with friends (both real and virtual) via that medium and I’ve been quite humbled this week by the journeys some of the parents I follow are having to take.
I’ve only met one of these parents I’m going to outline belowÂ in real life but if hasn’t stopped me from empathising with any of them, because as a parent I just don’t know how I’d be able to cope if I was faced with the same.
The one follower keeps her twitter stream private so I wont out her here but after having a daughter who wasÂ born with Downs Syndrome, a subsequent diagnoses of Cerebral Palsy and in the last week a further diagnosis of severe arthritis all over her body she’s a lot going on but with 2 more children at home and a charity to run which she set up to support other parents in understanding Downs and going it alone as a single parent I just don’t know sometimes how she carries on.
There is @beast76uk (Phillip) whose son Harry recently lost an eye to Retinoblastoma, whose tweets “”Ok #cancer, this war is WON! Fuck you. Yes, you took his eye, small price to pay in the long run. but we’ve stopped you. You’re fuckin GONE!” and “Got Harry’s #histology results back 2day. No spread of the cancer. absolutely #chuffedtobits ! Left eye is in remission. #couldntbehappier” made me ridiculously happy for a man I’d never met and left me in awe of his resilience as a parent, I don’t know, and I hope I never have to find out how I would reactÂ if faced with the same.
Now there is @junction10 (Jason) someone I have never met but started following a while back because his sense of humour and sarcastic updates made me laugh (and he’sÂ a bloody fine photographer to boot), Another twitter user who is currently going through hell as a parent. Just as I was reading that @beast76uk son was winning their battle with the dreaded C word,Â Jason’s son Joel was just starting his own, a diagnosis of a brain tumour, subsequent surgery and the prospect of 12 months of radio and chemotherapy is a terrible way to start the year.
I don’t know why but Jason and Joel’s story seems to have affected me more than the others (and maybe more than it should for someone I don’t know), maybe it’s because the sarcastic, humorous tone of his stream as been overtaken with heart wrenching updates of his son’s progress where the others didn’t change in such a dramatic way, and that it has laid bare the fundamental fear as parent that when something is going on with your child that is completely out of your control and with the stakes so high just how hard it can be but whatever the reason it has upset me.
Last night I read Jason’s blog “A Sense of Tumour” documenting the journey of diagnosis and tests and surgery (and hospital parking) and then went to bed. At 1:30 I was woken by TBK and his 2 friends who were here for a sleepover. They were banging around and making such a racket I’m surprised the neighbours hadn’t been to knock the door,Â I was just about to get out of bed to read them the riot act when an image from the blog came to mind and I remembered how lucky I was to be at home with my son safe, healthy and happy waking me up. A quiet word with the boys and peace resumed and returned to bed with the lasting impression of how lucky I really am!