Small steps and new beginnings

The last 2 weeks have gone by with tiny steps of progress. T is now getting up and down the stairs almost entirely unaided and we have even had some trips out. A had a sleepover at G&G’s for 2 nights so with our new “have-wheelchair-will-travel” attitude T and I went to the cinema together after a quick bacon roll at the local farm shop cafe. He’s managing small walks on his crutches with no trouble, but for longer or more tricky endeavours like shopping (trainers and school bag, etc. for A) he has been, reluctantly, using the wheelchair. I say reluctantly, he doesn’t mind it if he thinks there is no danger of him being seen by anyone that he knows. He doesn’t want to “draw attention to himself”. I replied that the massive bloody blue plaster cast on his leg kind of does that all by itself, but in all truthfulness I do get his point. He is adamant that he doesn’t want to use the chair at school but I think that is something we will have to negotiate on when we speak with his head of year, hopefully today.

School. Yes, that time has come already. A starts tomorrow – the day before the rest of the school returns, giving year 7 a chance to get themselves used to being there without hordes of bigger students pushing past them in the corridors. We have bought her uniform, shoes, bag, trainers, hair ties, earrings….the list is endless. She has had the remnants of the colour cut out of her hair; she has tidied her room so that it is befitting of a new year 7 grown up student who will have homework to do and text books to store. She has met up with her new friends a few times and appeared to be excited. Then she had a wobble. One night late last week she went to bed in a rather subdued mood (K and I had been out for our anniversary for an early dinner while G&G stayed with the kids, and I wondered if she was just a bit over-tired). For the first time in over 6 months she asked me if I would sing her bedtime song. It transpired that she was feeling anxious about school and the impending ‘Bushcraft’ trip that she is due to go on 2 weeks after she starts. She told me that she doesn’t feel grown up enough to be going to secondary school and really doesn’t want to sleep “in the wild”. We had a good chat and a prolonged cuddle and I sang the song and I promised her that within a couple of weeks of starting at school she will feel like a different person, but that it was OK to be worried. I couldn’t allay her fears over the trip, as I don’t really know what it involves until we have a meeting at school about it next week. Hopefully the assurance from our lovely neighbour that her daughter, who went last year, loved it and made lots of new friends during the 3 days will be of some help.

As much as I have tried not to over-focus on T, I do fear that A has been sidelined a little in the last few weeks. She has had some lovely times with G&G and we had our day trip to London to see Wicked that we had been looking forward to for a month or so. But in the day to day scheme of things she has taken a bit of a backseat in terms of our attention. Tomorrow she starts at secondary school and, if the first year of T being there is anything to go by, it will be next summer in seemingly a matter of months and all this will be a distant (sometimes painful) memory that we will look back on and say, “well that was all a bit shit but we got through it“. She is nervous, she is excited, she is going to be fine. In some ways it is a bonus that she starts a day early as the focus tomorrow morning can be all on her and we can take the obligatory first day photo by the front door while her brother is still in bed with his big heavy leg.

My little girl is going to change before my very eyes in the next few weeks and months. But whenever she is feeling small and worried I will sing her song and let her feel little again, no matter what.




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