Joel and I escaped for the weekend and left the boys with my parents (thanks Mum!) We attended a conference called GameChangers organised by our family of Churches. If I’m honest, what I was looking forward to the most was having two nights of uninterrupted sleep – however Toby has broken my body clock and I kept waking up at times that he would usually get up!

As much as I love the boys (and missed them loads!) it was nice to have a bit of space and be me for a little while. Small things like being able to have a conversation and catch up with people that we haven’t seen for a while was nice or sit down and eat a meal with friends is a rarity for us. Often Joel and I have one child each when out and about and as Toby struggles being around lots of people and becomes overwhelmed and Ted is usually running off somewhere he shouldn’t so chatting to our friends is usually a challenge. One of our closest friends even commented that it was weird seeing us without the boys.

I did however come home to a huge package full of papers for Toby’s tribunal (literally the size of a pack of printer paper) So I’ve spent the past few hours reading up on all that and the criteria for DLA mobility – basically they agree that he has a severer mental impairment but they don’t think his behaviour is challenging enough – again I’m not prepared to lie or even over exaggerate but I’m collating evidence and examples – all of his professionals who I’ve spoken to agree that he does meet the criteria.

The conference was great and it was really encouraging to hear about what God is doing in different people’s lives, Churches and communities.

 Chatting to these two via FaceTime over the weekend.
On Saturday afternoon we had to choose different seminars to attend. I went to one that looked at anxiety and how much of a growing issue in our society and how the Church needs to not be afraid of talking about mental illness. Did you know 1 in 4 of us will experience a diagnosable form of mental illness this year!  That’s not one in four in a lifetime, that’s in one year. This includes; depression, anxiety, stress etc.

At the same time, Joel went to a seminar on family work-life balance – very topical for us. The speaker was Philip Jinadu who is passionate about family and Churches making a difference in the community. Afterwards we were chatting about what had been said and one thing that Joel quoted back to me from his session was, “the days are long, but the years are short…” 

Everyone always tells you how children grow up too fast and that you should make the most of this time as you will never get it back. Philip’s quote has really stuck with me, he was speaking about bringing up children and the some of the challenges that involves. He’s completely right…I especially don’t know where the past two years have gone – everyone always says that babies don’t stay babies for very long and I’ve no idea when my teany tiny premie Ted turned in to a two year old full of character, mischief and mess.

It’s this funny mix of long days (really long when your child struggles with sleep – 1:30am get up yesterday and a bit better today with 3:30am) and then most activities revolving around the home. I often say to Joel that I’m envious of him and that going to work gives him a break and he can talk to other people! Work isn’t really a break at all for him, teaching is a stressful job especially when it involves young people with special needs and challenging behaviour (and then you come home to more additional needs and challenging behaviour!) Often I find being home-based a challenge and as much as I love playing duplo and making play dough, it can become quite boring and lonely at times. However I know this is where I’m meant to be.

Speaking of loneliness…I watched a really interesting program yesterday morning (had a couple of hours to kill before the rest of the world woke up..) The age of loneliness (it’s on BBC iplayer) all about how so many people from completely different backgrounds and walks of life feel isolated and just need friends – it’s quite sad but worth a watch.

So even though I often feel as if we are just in survival mode and are just trying to get through days, weeks, months (and especially school holidays!) I need to make the most of this time even though the days of sleep deprivation, nappy changing,  CBeebies watching, hospital appointments and cleaning mucky hand prints off EVERYTHING even though this season is never-ending, I know that even though the days are long, the years are actually quite short and it won’t be like this forever. And although I crave adventure and excitement away from the routines and constraints of everyday life I know God has brought us into this season and one day I’ll miss it.