‘Precious Moments, Important Memories’

Parenting a child with additional needs or disabilities can be hectic; sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming too, with so much to juggle, so much responsibility, so much unpredictability, so many battles to fight for our child…   So when precious moments come along, little oases in the struggle that is daily life, it is important to cherish them, to enjoy them, to squeeze every single drop of joy out of them…  a bit like we did last Saturday morning…

James is 15 now, a proper teenager…  as a proper teenager he finds getting up in the mornings hard, and prefers a lie-in.  Sometimes a crowbar is needed to lever him out of his nest in the mornings, but this wasn’t the case last Saturday…  last Saturday morning was different, and very special.

We didn’t have a lot going on last Saturday, so it was a slow start for us all…  After a couple of busy weeks, not having to rush out of bed was a welcome change and the opportunity to lie-in a little was taken…  What was unexpected, but delightfully welcome, was what happened next

We heard footsteps coming down the stairs (our bedroom is on the ground floor), and quickly heard James vocalising a few sounds.  His den is at the bottom of the stairs and we thought he was heading there to slowly rally for the new day, but his footsteps continued towards our bedroom…  At first, a feeling of dread grew within us…  James has sometimes found us to hand us something unpleasant (I’ll spare you the details, but some of you might have shared a similar experience!), but as James pushed the door open and came in, he wasn’t bringing us anything other than a lovely smile.

He clambered onto our bed, and giggling with delight he squeezed in between us, pulling the duvet back up as he did so.  With a beaming face full of joy and love he just enjoyed the moment of being with us, snuggling in together…  Now, as I mentioned, James is 15 and as big as we are, and as he spread out in bed after a while there wasn’t much space!  Clare eventually got out to go and make a cup of tea, leaving me and James to some son and dad time together…

We practiced some of James’ repertoire of words; he doesn’t have many, but he enjoyed practicing them and by placing his finger on my teeth and lips he concentrated hard to copy my mouth movements.  We had a story together, made up on the spur of the moment as I didn’t want to leave the bed to get a book.  We even sung a song (well, I sang, James joined in with an occasional word when I paused for him)…  I took the photo at the top of this blog post to capture the moment, it was a wonderful, precious time with my son who is growing up too fast…  How many more times will he come and spend a time like this with me?

As I thought about how precious this moment was, I delighted in the memory of it…  I’m delighting in it again now as I write this.  These are important memories, both for James and for me; memories that will last with us and be significant for us in different but connected ways…

For me the memories will be of having nothing else to think about, nothing else to do, other than the joy of enjoying time with my son; loving him, laughing with him, delighting in him, focussing fully on him.  I will always cherish memories like this, and will keep looking for more opportunities to add to the ‘good memory bank’…  When things are hard, when it’s all unravelling, when I can’t see anything positive at all, that’s when dipping into that ‘good memory bank’ can be so important… reminding me of the good times, which I know will come around again.  Those good memories can sustain, can protect, can build resilience and be so important when it’s a hard day.

And for James, those memories help him to know how much he is loved and cared for…  how important he is to us.  The love that shines from his eyes during those precious times doesn’t go away when he’s having a meltdown or just being a teenage grump…  it can be harder to spot, but stirring those precious memories can bring it to the surface again.

So no matter how busy we are, and believe me I know busy, let’s all cherish those precious moments…  let’s realise that in that moment, no matter what else might be going on, our only priority is to be with our child, to share that precious moment with them, to build those important memories, to lose ourselves in the moment both for our child’s sake and for our own

I’m looking for more of these precious moments every day!  How about you? 🙂

Mark
15th June 2017

Image rights: Mark Arnold

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