Seasons

I’m in a reflective mood so no knitting or sewing to share at the moment.  I’ll be back soon with some new socks to share. 

The seasons have turned and autumn is with us.  This is without question my favourite season. Crisp mornings. Mist. Warm boots.  Cosy sweaters.  A legitimate reason to stay indoors with tea, cake and knitting.  But the best weather for walking in the park before curling up on the sofa.

We are surrounded by trees in our new house so I can stand at the window and watch the leaves falling in a shower of gold, copper, russet and bronze and chase each other up and down the drive and garden on the wings of a chill wind.

It’s something of a melancholy season but one I always embrace.  I always feel most like me at this time of the year.

But the season of our life here has turned too.  Ma had a TIA a few weeks ago. She’s lost sight in one eye, but we are considering ourselves immensely lucky that this is currently the only long term damage. She’s doing well and is at home, knitting and sewing and galavanting around with her friends just like she always did. She has more tests to be done, and the hospital is keeping a close eye on her, but, fingers crossed, other than the eye all is well.

We have also entered a new season with the kids.  As you know they are adopted, but what you probably don’t know is that they had a fairly rough start in life and, as such, are now facing some big challenges; emotionally, physiologically and educationally.  We have spent much of their lives engaged with the medical profession.  First for divergent squints and in-turned feet. For speech and nasal problems. We are currently awaiting ear surgery for the boy.

Now we are lining up tests for a raft of potential diagnoses.  Or non at all.  Imagine a skein of alpaca thats been played with by a basket of kittens.  It’s like trying to untangle that!

It’s unsettling for all of us.  And the system is neither sufficiently resourced nor imbued with any sense of urgency.  This could take us years to fully explore.

It would help if there was any sense that the Educational, Paediatric and Social services operated in anything other than silos.  But it is what it is.  And we are united as a family and with school to push back against the system until we get the children the answers they need.

So as you can imagine it’s pretty busy here.  As the nights draw in I’m drawing up battle plans to get everyone the support they need.  I’m working in the house to build us a safe haven and fortress where everyone has their space, and we can come together with family and friends to eat and play and relax.  Husband is taking the business forward and is securing our future. I’m immeasurably proud of him too. Earlier this week we hit the final marker for our five year plan.  It’s taken us only 2 and half years to do it.  We’re a pretty awesome team and have achieved so much together that neither of us would have managed on our own.

We are squirrels…harvesting our nuts and storing them until they are needed, and building our nest.

Thankfully there is lots of fun stuff happening too.  And though I would probably sell one of the children for a decent nights sleep and a plate of posh pasta, I’m counting our blessings as they considerably outweigh the challenges.

But here are my happiest moments this month.   I’m sorry for the grainy pictures.  I’m not sorry for being the most ridiculously proud and boastful mother in all creation.

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Miss B dancing her way the the quarter finals of the biggest dance competition of the year at the Empress Ballroom at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool.  Last year the Irish teams, who are amazing, swept the board.  This year, they didn’t have it all their own way.  Quarter finals after one year of dancing, against girls who have danced since they could walk (I’m not kidding). It is such a huge achievement it takes my breath away.  Especially from a girl who is falls behind her peers in so many other ways, and who struggles so hard every day to keep focused on the task in hand.

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Shortly after this picture was taken Mr D forgot his routine.  His lovely partner said “don’t worry, I’ll dance around you until you remember”.  So she did.  And he remembered.  And he placed second in the final!  He also placed first in the quickstep.  He was the only boy on the floor leading a partner. Every other boy had a teacher with them.  He’s 7.  He wept with joy when he came first.  I wept with pride. Only a few short years ago he couldn’t walk into a shop without becoming hysterical and terribly distressed.  Now he leads a girl onto a dance floor in front of a crowd of hundreds of people.

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A very emotional pair. He’d just placed first in the quickstep.

Guess how proud I am of them?   My kids are awesome.


14 Responses to Seasons

  1. Sue Taylor says:

    You truly are the most amazing family! I love your positive attitude and your two little ones are so lucky to have found such remarkable parents. I hope you manage to get the help and support you need from all the various agencies involved very soon. Hugs to you all and to Mum xx

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      Thank you so much, Sue. I’ll admit I’m not always positive, but we have so much to be grateful for it’s very hard not to bounce back! And you know that we are the lucky ones to have found them. They’re pretty amazing people!

  2. Tialys says:

    Such proud moments – you deserve them too!
    Good luck with negotiating ‘the system’ – and fingers crossed your Mum continues to keep well and happy.

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      Thank you! Ma is making great progress. The system is slow but it’s good to see that we are making a wee bit of progress. We are so lucky that we’ve been through the adoption process twice (long story) so it’s not our first rodeo. I think it gives you a lot of confidence to be assertive and not be fobbed off.

  3. Jane says:

    Aw Evie, how amazing do your kids look on that dance floor?! Well done to both of them! I have no idea of the enormity of the challenges you’re facing so I can’t say I know how you feel. What I will say is that I have a tiny understanding of what it’s like waiting for diagnoses etc. It’s truly draining and I really think having a happy family home and a great partnership help massively. Keep up the good work!
    And glad to hear your mum is doing well and still galavanting! xx

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      Watching them dance brings me such joy. I’m so happy that we can support them with this hobby as they enjoy it so much.

      It is draining dealing with these services, and I’m very lucky to have a great husband, family and friends. I’m not sure I could do it on my own.

      Thanks for the best wishes for all of us. 😀

  4. K-Line says:

    Wow – what a post, Evie. For starters, I’m giving your mum go forward great health vibes. What a shock and scare that must have been for your all… Please keep us posted on her improvement.

    Secondly, your children are such dancers! That’s amazing. To be able to find oneself in dance (in art, really) is the most wonderful escape – and return to one’s truest nature. You are a fantastic mother to have found this for them and to have cultivated their strengths – as you will continue to do. I think I’ve mentioned that my kid has some pretty striking learning exceptionalities. On the one hand (after extensive testing) we discovered that she falls into the 99th percentile for cognitive intelligence (which is pretty unusual). Apparently she could power the world on her intelligence (not that we see evidence of this all the time :-)) On the other, she has extremely poor working memory and ADD (not with the hyperactivity) and the combo of these has led to much awareness, in her, about her limitations. (Because, of course, we all see our limitations before our strengths.) Effectively she’s smart enough to see exactly where it all breaks down – but she doesn’t know what the eff to do about it. We’ve been working with the system for a number of years now. For a long time her natural intelligence hid the challenges, which is why I say testing is so key to unlocking the true story. She’s now on meds, which I resisted for a long time – and which we ensured, via many meaningful consultations (with her and with doctors), she would feel comfortable trying. The drug is insanely effective. It’s changed her level of engagement with the world and her understanding of herself and her natural (sizable) abilities. Keep on, Evie. Your kids are going to continue to shine – even brighter as time goes on – and that’s as much because of your love and care as their innate talents. Kxoxo

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      Thanks for the best wishes for ma. She’s finding some equilibrium again and is embracing life with a new found vigour.

      I can’t claim to have found the dancing. Our little man was watching Strictly Come Dancing a couple of years ago and said “I can do that”. Turns out he was right!

      “she’s smart enough to see exactly where it all breaks down – but she doesn’t know what the eff to do about it” really resonates with me. Both kids are so smart (which in itself is nothing short of miraculous. We had been prepared for intellectual impairment and special schools when we adopted them) but struggle with the restrictions of the education system which out of necessity is designed for the majority of kids.

      Button has astonishing logical thinking and problem solving skills, but struggles with attention and concentration. Boy is excellent at maths and can memorise dance routines in a flash. Both are behind the curve emotionally and educationally, but near enough to it to feel their slight difference.

      I’m glad they shine at dancing because they can se that there is more than one way to measure success.

      My goal is to get them through school unscathed and with a fair education. They may be square pegs in round holes at school, but once they leave they can be whatever shape they want to be.

      As you know only too well, it’s so hard to watch your kids go through this, but I can only imagine how hard it is for them on a daily basis. It makes our part in this so much easier. We are their advocates and their champions.

      They will shine. Our job is to help them do so, no?

      Oh…and I’m glad the meds are helping. I know you had a tough time with that decision. You were both so brave to take it.

  5. K-Line says:

    Another thing – you and your husband are an awesome team. I know that times are hard right now (even as you recognize and count your numerous blessings) but you will kick these challenges to the curb because you’re organized, intelligent and effective. The system is to be worked, that’s how it goes (here too). But you will discover its nuances and get the help you need for everyone. And one day, when you’re kids are doing very well in adulthood, they’ll take you for that fantastic plate of pasta and it will all have been worth it. I promise.

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      Thank you. So, so much.

      Without him I really couldn’t do it. He’s absolutely awesome. It’s good that if one is feeling the pressure the other is there to shore them up and remind them how far we’ve come as a family.

      I’m so lucky I found all three of them.

  6. Anne-Marie says:

    This post left me quite emotional and wishing lots of good things to happen for your beautiful family.

  7. Sarah Smith says:

    You were definitely meant to be these kids parents; hope all goes well with appointments x

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