When you need to catch them

To all parents, but especially special needs parents, ASD parents, parents of the kids who don’t quite fit the mould, the anxious ones, the quirky ones, the beautifully challenging ones, the ADHD ones; this is for you.

In the moments when you are tired to your bones, when your eyes close as you take that deep breath, trying to steady your response to what has just been said or done, as though you can maybe just breathe deeply enough to undo it, remember;

Your child is not angry at you – they’re angry because in this moment, it is hard. All of it. Life. They’re directing their anger at you because you are their safety. That anger is hurt wrapped in overwhelm and they’re throwing it at you because they know that despite any of this you will catch them when they feel like they’re falling.

Often enough it will pass in a heartbeat, and you have all these years to practice bouncing back as quick as they can.

One day you might feel like you’re moving forward, the next you might feel like you’re going backwards – this is just your dance for right now. Sometimes the music is a little crazy but there are so many memories to be made on this dance floor and one day you’re going to look back on them and only see joy.

Worry about the future if you must, but pause long enough to blow bubbles, to play in the waves, to knock down sand castles, to drink hot chocolate and talk about nonsense. Your job isn’t to raise a perfect person, it’s to find the perfection right here, right now. It’s to make them laugh. It’s to find the beauty in their drawings or finger-paint messes and love them for their quirks not despite them.

Your child is not anxious at you – and sometimes there is nothing you can do in that moment to help. Listen anyway. Tell them you love them anyway. Get them outside. Build them a fort. Do whatever you need to do, because before you know it a day will come when that anxiety is a little less, and they wont remember those moments of stress, irritation or frustration – they’ll remember playing outside with you, or those amazing forts.

Don’t listen to that relative, that friend, that person on the street who tells you how it should be. Do what works for you and your child. Be unashamed of rocking the path that is just right for your child. Listen to them. Listen to them a thousand times over.

Your child’s joy does not need to look like anyone else’s. Don’t compare. If they are lost in the magnificence of pouring sand through their fingers for an hour then just keep the sand coming. Provide all the opportunities, but with the ease that they may not be taken, and thats ok.

Your child is not having a hard day at you – even though it impacts you, your family, the people you pass in the street. Your child is having a hard day, and you’re doing them the kindness of bearing witness. You’re listening, even in the moments you’d rather not be. You’re walking beside them as they feel all the things.

There is an enormity in being there with your child, when the emotions and challenges feel too big to hold, and just holding them. You’re doing it, and you’re doing fine.

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To the girl dancing by the Christmas tree

I don’t know the kind of world you’re growing into baby, but I know it’s going to be good. I know that you’re going to find the best of it wherever you look.

I trust that people will want good things for you little one, because thats what you deserve. You wont have to fight for them, because people will see the strength in your smile, the fortitude in your stance, the wisdom in your words.

You wont have to worry about getting your share baby, because whats yours can never be taken away. There’s enough. Never doubt that there’s enough.

I don’t know what the world will look like when you grow up, but I know there will be beauty in it. I know there will be blue skies and fresh air and birds that sing just for you. There may be turmoil, there could be storms, there will definitely be imperfections, but they will just make the colours more vibrant. Always look for the beauty. It will find you right back.

I don’t know what you’re going to do when you grow up baby, but I’m excited that you get to choose. Don’t ever choose for me or anyone else. Follow your heart song. Surprise the hell out of me.

I don’t know who you’re going to be when you grow up, but I trust that you’re going to be *you*. Don’t ever think that you need to be wilder, richer, thinner, smarter or more powerful. The only thing you need to be is happy. Your power lies in your peace. Your future lies in your joy.

I hope you have big ideas baby, but follow the little ones too. I hope you don’t stop noticing the ladybirds or laughing over the silly jokes.

Never stop being curious little one; all the answers you could ever want lie in that curiosity. Sometimes the best answers lead to more questions. Follow your wonderings, they’ll take you where you need to go.

Never stop exploring, be it a back street in Rome or a different way home. Life hides wonderful things for you to find and every day is a treasure hunt. How exciting that the treasure never looks the same.

Sometimes the world will scare you baby. Sometimes people will seem cruel. Sometimes people will make choices that hurt others. Don’t ever let this dim your light. Look for the helpers, the kind ones, the givers, the compassionate hearts. Listen to them. Take faith in them. Be one yourself.

This is your adventure little one and I’m so blessed to hold your hand while you grow into it. If it ever doesn’t fit you – change it. Change suits you. Change is hard, change is beautiful. Don’t fear it.

Never forget the power of your choices. What you buy, what you eat, the people you smile at, the thoughts you spend so much time with. They not only help shape little pieces of your life, but the lives of others. You may never truly know the impact of buying locally made, smiling at someone having a hard day or doing a meditation in the morning, but you can’t not impact this beautiful world, so you might as well do it well.

Today you are three, and you’re laughing as you dance around the living room to Christmas music, your hair a glorious halo of mess with a little avocado on the side. You are so utterly present in this moment.

I hope you always will be baby, even as the moment changes, even as you grow, even as the world grows with you. I hope you always dance little one, because no one does it quite like you.

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The Fire

Here is anger. A gift to rise your fire. A gift to stir your soul.

Here is a gift too hot to keep, not meant to be held, to wake you up in this moment.

Maybe you hold it strongly, or maybe it shakes you to your bones. Maybe you are rooted to the spot or your feet itch to run away.

It’s ok. You’re ok.

This fire is yours right now. Yours to burn away the weight of sadness, or the stagnation of doubt, yours to remind you how incredibly alive you are as the world turns around you.

It takes strength to feel anger like this, some people avoid it their whole lives, but there you are standing with your world ablaze and your heart trusting even as you feel so much.

Anger doesn’t own your words, anger doesn’t own your actions, anger doesn’t own you. When you’re ready just let it wash over you, it’s a gift too hot to keep for long and you don’t need to keep anything that doesn’t serve you.

And it goes. Maybe because everything is alright, or maybe because you realised that everything doesn’t have to be. Maybe you found peace – maybe it burned away all the stuff that kept you from finding the peace you already had.

Trust it, when it comes, this fire in you is a powerful teacher. But know you are bigger than this anger, than these clenched fists or racing heart. You are big enough to find kind words, even when they seem lost in the heat of this moment, you are big enough to find forgiveness, even when you are hurt, and you are big enough to find calm in the heat of this storm.

Here is anger. A gift to rise your fire. It’s ok to need it from time to time. May it bring you peace.

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To the woman with the broken heart

I’m sorry you’re hurting right now. I’m sorry he left, but if he wasn’t going to love you with every fibre of his being I’m so glad he set you free.

You see you weren’t put on this earth by accident. Your heart isn’t one of the kindest, most genuine and loving hearts by chance. You weren’t put here to hurt, or feel alone. You are here to love and be loved, to laugh so hard you forget everything else, to help people, to discover things you didn’t even know you were looking for, to adventure. You were put here to have a life of stories, and one day you’ll tell the one you’re living right now… and it will have a happy ending.

There are so many things waiting for you. Friends who you haven’t laid eyes on yet, books you will get lost in, cats to purr on your lap, foods that wake up every single taste bud, and somewhere someone who’s heart beats in time with yours, who has spent his whole life looking for you.

Someone you can’t even imagine yet, but one day wont be able to imagine your life without.

Maybe you’ll meet him in the supermarket or a far off land, maybe you’ll bump into him in the rain, maybe you’ll find you share friends and recognise each other with a lightness that shows you that your souls lined everything in your lives up to bring you to that moment. And you’ll think “Wow. So this is what I was missing?”

He’s not the point though, you know that? The point is you. And in losing someone else you get to find yourself even more. You’ve known hurt before and you shouldn’t have to know more, but there are treasures in this pain right now.

Don’t regret one single tear you shed, because every damn one of them is a poem about how hard you love.

Don’t regret not seeing it coming because thats a testament to how beautifully you trust. Never stop.

Don’t think you’re weak for grieving this loss – it takes guts to feel so deeply.

Don’t think you’ve lost the love of your life because there is SO much life left for you yet, and there’s no way the best parts are over. You were put here for joy. It’s coming. It’s yours.

Know that it’s ok to love someone and still let them go. You’ll get there. There’s no rush.

It’s ok to feel broken, but know that you can’t be. You are strong, you are smart, and you got this. You really, really do.

Pour yourself a cup of tea tonight and sip it slowly. Feel the warmth as it fills you. Know that it’s going to be alright. That feeling might only stay for a moment today, and thats fine, don’t force it, because tomorrow it will stay for a little longer, the next day a little longer than that. One day the moment will come when you couldn’t get rid of it if you tried. When you know that not only are you going to be alright, but you are, you’re better than alright, in fact you’re better than you ever thought you could be.

This is your story beautiful friend, and I’m on the edge of my seat about what comes next as much as you are. Know that seat’s a long one. You have lots of us on your team. At the moment you probably feel anxious about what comes next, but sooner or later things are going to get better. That anxiety will melt away to excitement. The day will come, before you know it, when you can’t wait to see the next twist in your story.

Love to you always x

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