The Princess Party

On Friday afternoon it was just another ordinary school classroom. Twenty four hours later, it had been transformed into a magical grotto full of light and colour, music and balloons, a candy cart and the sweet smell of cake. A wonderland fit for a princess. My princess. It was finally time to celebrate her 21st birthday.

And celebrate we did. With plenty of music and dancing, a gorgeous cake, family and lots of lots of friends, old and new. There wasn’t even time to take many photos: we were all too busy having fun.

(Most photos have other children in them so cannot be used here)

Why a school, you might be asking? Why not a swanky hotel? Well the school is home to the Rainbow Junior Arch Club, so it is familiar to B and has everything she needs, including a Changing Places Toilet. It meant all the children from the club could easily attend, as well as many former club members who are all grown up now, just like B. And finally because the school said yes to my request and I am very grateful to them for that.

As I wrote last week, with everything else going on at home, I could not have made this happen alone. Once again I asked for help, and once again my friends responded. I won’t name them on here, but they know who they are. And I hope they know how much I appreciate everything they did, from finding my daughter’s costume to making the invitations, to decorating the room and making sure everything ran like clockwork on the day, so I could spend the time  with B, making sure she had the time of her life….

It’s an afternoon I will never forget and the best reason to be cheerful I’ve had in a long long time.

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart 

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Unpalatable truths

I was so sure I was on the right path. The future I had sketched out for myself and my disabled daughter was starting to take shape in real life.

Perhaps planning and hoping too much is a bad idea?

The ongoing two month crisis here and the gentle comments made to me this week mean I have to face some unpalatable truths, and reevaluate everything about this family’s future. So I’m beginning to sketch out alternative plans and reaching out for advice, but as I no longer write about all the issues affecting this family, I can’t tell you any more on here.

So I thought I had no reasons to be cheerful this week, but there at least some reasons to be grateful…

…I got to most of my Zumba class again – the one chance I get at the moment to completely switch off for a while.

…That hour between 5 and 6 pm when my eldest daughter arrives home from work, and we talk about normal stuff and laugh at the crazy bits too.

…My friends who rallied round to help with a very special event happening later today. It is not an exaggeration to say I wouldn’t have managed it alone. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart 

Reasons to be cheerful – the 21st birthday edition

I’m not feeling particularly cheerful as I type this at 5am, cradling my dying phone in my palm, and listening to the latest set of worrying noises from the world’s weirdest fridge, and wondering why my disabled daughter cannot sleep. But I know I have much to be grateful for – all the usual things: I still seem to be healthy, solvent and secure. Not so much my children, but helping to make that happen for them is part of my role, isn’t it? Though it’s a lot harder than you’d think from all those photos of gooey eyed babies and happy families. But I know they exist too, in real life, and, like a drowning woman, I cling on to the raft of success stories, in my battle to escape from going under, as well as the good things in my own life.

So here’s two week’s worth of cheerful news:

Reasons to be cheerful 9.11.17

My disabled daughter B celebrated her 21st birthday – the celebrations at home were low key, but she got some gorgeous presents, including a night out at the cabaret spectacular Light It Up, which gave me the welcome opportunity to dress up for once!

A shopping trip to help B spend her birthday money – mostly buying clothing and wheelchair accessories as I’m trying to wean myself off bringing her out in her (practical) buggy as she is fully grown up now. Her fabulous new waterproof GaryB wheelchair blanket should help with that transition.

Another Parkrun with B and we both made more friends on the way round.

It’s only taken 21 years, but I finally managed to shower B on my own on a weekday morning and have her completely ready when her bus arrived (her morning help was on holiday for the week). This was only possible because I didn’t have to get anyone else out of the house that morning…

Hopefully you can find lots of reasons to be cheerful this week too.

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart 

Reasons to be cheerful 26.10.17

I’m still digging my way out of the disability trenches here, but I’m confident we’re on our way back to our version of normal life. So that’s my first reason to be cheerful. Getting us there – on top of everything else – is keeping me very busy indeed, so I only have a few reasons to be cheerful this week…

…I’m continuing with my #onedailypositive Instagram posts and they really help to lift my mood. As you can see, they include a celebration of all things Halloween, getting to my Zumba class again, and a new housing development that looks interesting as it offers the tantalising prospect of a home that would be totally accessible for my disabled daughter, and the chance for me to sleep in a bedroom instead of the kitchen!

#onedailypositive #R2BC 27.10.17

…I am getting good emotional and practical support from our much maligned disability services.

…Another young adult on B’s day programme has befriended her, and was helping her to play the guitar this week: my heart just melted hearing that.

…I made time to straighten my hair for the first time in 6 weeks as a bit of self care, and I hope to get it trimmed soon too.

That’s it for this week. Head over to Lakes Single Mum for more.

 

Ophelia in da house

Outside Ophelia wreaked little damage in our sheltered corner of Dublin – one reason to be cheerful this week – but inside the storms have continued. I’ve battened down the hatches and bought in extra supplies (lots of treats!). Gym membership has been suspended, running plans put on hold, and even my disabled daughter’s 21st birthday party will now be a low key affair. It is scary how one storm can threaten to destroy so much, and all you can do is look for help, sit tight and hang on.

Sorry for the lack of cheerfulness there, but for me, these weekly posts are also little updates on our lives. And there are some reasons to be cheerful too:

…A job was tweeted at me. I may not be in a position to do anything about it, but it was a real boost that someone thought I would be a suitable candidate.

…I’ve begun a #onedailypositive post on Instagram to help me get through this – I borrowed the idea from fellow blogger Chickenruby.

#OneDailyPositive

…A huge reaction to an old post I revamped for #WorldMenopauseDay.

…Christmas treats like these in the shops, and now in my house too!

Tesco Salted Caramel Nut Collection

…More therapeutic walks with wonderful rewards, like this view from Bray Head in Co. Wicklow.

View from Bray Head

So that’s it for this week, head over to Lakes Single Mum for more.

 

Reasons to be cheerful 12.10.17

I cannot tell you how badly I need to find reasons to be cheerful this week, and yet when you look for them, they are always there…

A weekend so packed with activities that there was no time for my disabled daughter B to watch her favourite Britney DVD. I can’t say I minded too much…

Saturday began with another Rabbits and Runners Event in Malahide. This volunteer group provides supported walks and runs for children and young adults with special needs, disabilities and autism.

Rabbits and RUnners

Then there was drama, closely followed by the Rainbow Junior Arch Club.

Sunday included a little light shopping in the morning followed by a trip to the Busker Fleadh, a free event (we love those!) in nearby Smithfield plaza with a huge variety of musical performances. B loved it, of course 😍😍 especially as we met one of her long time friends…

The Sunday Times book section is one of my favourite reasons for getting the Sunday papers – I never get around to reading most of the books that sounds interesting, but I learn so much from reading the reviews, which often include fascinating anecdotes about every subject under the sun.

More walking with one of my other children means a few more photos like this one and happy memories of beautiful places around Dublin.

Rush

Finally on Tuesday I managed to get to most of my Zumba class, good for my mood, brain and pocket: because it’s free!

So those are my reasons to be cheerful for this week, hope you have some too, and head over to Lakes Single Mum for more.

The week my daughter broke Twitter

Me and B

Obviously we’re not talking about Obama-style twitter breaking, but I’ve never experienced anything like it.

It was just an innocent little tweet looking for some advice. I thought I’d get maybe half a dozen retweets, and hopefully a few replies.

This is what happened:

Breaking Twitter

It even trended for a while, and I was actually quite nervous about a tweet of mine being seen by so many people, and nearly deleted it. But so far I’m glad I didn’t, and I have to say a huge thank you to everyone who got behind my dream for my daughter’s birthday.

With all the bad press given to social media, wouldn’t the response restore your faith in humanity?

I received lots of offers, advice, ideas and information. So many that I’m still busy with replies, messages and phone calls to choose the best option.

Then all I have to do is organise a spectacular party to match the fabulous dress and fancy wheelchair costume. And that’s a very cheerful prospect indeed!

Linking up as usual with Reasons to be Cheerful, hosted this month by Lakes Single Mum.

R2BC-badge-2016-1024x683

 

Freedom

While I’m not some kind of anti state neo liberal nutter who dreams of living in a cabin in the woods with a shotgun, solar panels and a stockade, freedom has always been important to me. As a teenager, I vowed that no one would tell me what to do once I turned 18 (unless they were an employer). That didn’t work out so well, as some of you will know. Then I became a carer. And like many carers, it often feels as though my life is completely controlled by others: from the needs of those I care for, to the demands and policies of a state that (sometimes) provides services and supports.

But if I look hard enough, I can still find little nuggets of freedom buried away in hidden corners of my life.

Clear skies and busy streets

I’m back to full time intensive caring, but in a change from the usual pattern, it involves getting out of the house, rather than staying in it. I much prefer this, as you can imagine! So no cabin fever, lots of fresh air and exercise, the opportunity to put things into perspective when you see the troubles of others and freedom to wander and explore familiar and different corners of Dublin.

Poolbeg Chimneys, The Pigeon House, Freedom

Happy Hour

Thanks to needing less sleep than anyone else in the house, that hour between 5.30 and 6.30 am is all mine. Unless my disabled daughter decides on an early start too! Otherwise, I have an hour to catch up, clean up, caffeinate and shower and I’m then reasonably ready to face the day ahead. That hour of freedom is very important to me.

Coming and going

For years trips out in the car with my disabled daughter have had to be planned carefully to make sure there would be parking outside the house when we returned. The opening and closing times of the school just up the road have to be avoided as well as match days at the nearby sports stadium.

But now I finally have a disabled parking space painted on the road outside my house: I applied last November, but it took a team effort led by Ciarán Delaney and Senator John Dolan to make it actually happen. Now it finally has and I am very grateful to everyone who helped. It’s a public disability space on a public road, but it will make it much more likely that our parking issues will mostly be in the past, giving us a bit more freedom to come and go as we please.

Netflix in peace

Currently my evenings are spent watching TV with one of my young adult children,   so I have a lengthening Netflix list of must watch programmes… Luckily the iPad stand and some budget wireless headphones have come to the rescue and if you dropped by my house in the early evening you’ll find me preparing dinner with one eye on a pot on the stove and the other on a favourite show. While my children watch theirs. A bit of freedom for all of us, I guess.

Running fast

I know that running is not for everyone. I know it’s hard and tiring and slow and heavy and even miserable when you start, or start back. But if you can stick with it, running turns into something else entirely. You can hit a sweet spot where you can jog along effortlessly as you chat to friends, or run a bit faster when you want a challenge. And then you see a perfect stretch of path: long, straight, smooth with a slight downward incline. And your legs just want to go. So you do. And you run faster and faster and you feel like you could accelerate indefinitely.

You know what that feels like?

It feels like freedom.

And in a world where we all seem to have less and less control, that’s a very heady feeling 😍😍

So for me every golden nugget of freedom is precious. Search them out and treasure them as I do, it really helps.

Sharing with reasons to be cheerful, hosted this week by Mummy From The Heart.

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart 

When September Ends

Sadly the September I had hoped for has come to a skittering halt, but at least help has kicked in, and there is still hope, and still reasons to be cheerful. Like these:

Perfect Skin

Well obviously not perfect. At all. But after being told I really needed to get a mole removed – though no expectations of anything nasty – it was a lovely bonus when my skin was praised by someone who really should know what they’re talking about!

Happy Birthday

My beautiful eldest daughter turns 25. Impossible to believe that the little 5lb bundle placed in my arms so long ago is now a strong, confident, clever, energetic and caring young woman who is determined to make the world a better place. Love her so much ❤.

Walk This Way

I predict a lot of walking in the near future, and that gives me the chance to revisit and photograph favourite parts of the city like these.

Fairy Tree, Blessington Basin.png

And maybe even explore the nearly countryside…

Last Weekend

Was filled with running, music, cake and a very happy daughter who enjoyed it all. It’s impossible to feel down for too long when you share your life with someone who takes so much joy in hers.

B at Smithfield

Head over to Mummy from the Heart for more reasons to be cheerful and have a wonderful week x

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart 

Dull and domestic details can be cheerful too

Disclosure: I was not in any way paid or asked to include the products on this page, and the photos are my own.

I nearly cried this week when I accidentally knocked a treasured family photo off the wall and smashed the glass, while hoovering. But I didn’t. And while it felt like the last straw for a few minutes, my eldest reminded me how easily it could be fixed. Unlike the problems facing so many other people.

Because so far September is going surprisingly well. A transition from constant fire fighting to dull domestic and disability duties feels odd, but once there’s no disasters, it’s definitely a reason to be cheerful. And yes I went a bit mad with the alliteration there, sometimes I can’t resist it…

The change in the weather will take a while to get used to. For now, I’m mostly frozen. Yesterday I got chilled after a sudden shower of rain, and with a bit of spare time, I swapped my usual 3 minute shower for a reasonably leisurely bath. It was like a reunion with a long lost friend. Wonderful.

Talking of wintry conditions, I’m enjoying seeing all the warmer clothes in the shops and planning what to buy my disabled daughter as her clothes never last long, due to chewing, sitting, spills and stains, and holes from yanking unwilling garments into place. I’m thinking the pink and blue scarf and hat would be be perfect on her.

Autumn clothes

This undomesticated goddess got another boost this week and I could actually kiss those lovely Lidl people sometimes! Mostly when they bring out products that actually work like this limescale remover.

Toilet, Lidl limescale remover

I’m tempted to buy a lifetime supply in case they discontinue it like the chlorine spray that turned grey grout brilliant white again. If you’re reading this, lovely Lidl person, please start stocking it again.

So that’s my reasons to be cheerful for this week: head over to Mummy from the Heart for more.

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart