Tearful Times

I have never had a stiff-upper lip but I have always worn my heart on my sleeve. I have always shown my emotions and yesterday was yet another emotional day: It was the last parent coffee morning at school, so I took Joshua into school, leaving my husband digging a grave for our beloved dog, Max. As we arrived at school, I saw so many children carrying in flowers and chocolates to thank their teachers for their year in school. I had brought some home-baking for the sixth form staff to enjoy together as our thank you.

The core group of parents attended the coffee morning and we discussed a wide range of topics, including how everyone felt about the long 6 week summer with their children at home. For many of those there, it was a matter of survival and they were already counting the days until September, Most of them were planning days out rather than a holiday away somewhere, so it was refreshing to hear from one single Mum who was looking forward to some quality holiday time with her teenaged son. I am firmly in that camp, Joshua will enjoy some lie ins followed by some days out with Yorkshire Grandma, then we will have our fortnight’s family holiday together in August, which I am counting the days until.

Part way through the coffee morning, two sixth formers brought me their scrap books to sign as they were leaving the school : I browsed through their books, admiring the photographs, and wrote messages wishing them well for the future. I was very touched to be asked but as soon as they had left the room, my tears flowed uncontrollably  as I will miss those young people who I got to know pretty well over the years, but of course, that will be Joshua this time next year, so all that emotion came crashing down on me.

After coffee morning, a group of us Mums had arranged to go out for lunch to celebrate the end of term – or to ‘mark the end of freedom’ as one of them put it! In the morning I had not felt that I could join them, even though it had been my idea. But I decided to have a starter with them and then leave early in the end and I am glad that I did that. It was a lovely restaurant and we had a good time, so I am hoping that it will become a tradition as we all need some time and treats just for ourselves.

I left after my delicious and filling starter, to help my Husband lower Max into his grave and then cover him up and plant a rose on top of him. Sadly we have quite a pet graveyard in our garden now , so he is placed next to his two brothers and his Mum. So of course we both cried during that process, so by the evening I was wrung out and I do not think that I had any tears left to shed. For me, crying is a release and I cannot hold back tears when they need to flow, but I would have thought that there would be a limit as to how much I can cry and I must have got close to that limit over the past 8 weeks.

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Cry Baby

I had been so proud of myself on Sunday, for keeping a lid on my emotions at Joshua’s leaving party, but when I got home I wept uncontrollably, especially when I read all the staff messages in his card and later when I spoke to his keyworker, when she had tucked him into bed for the last time. I was still weepy in the morning, thinking about going to collect Joshua and I cried several times in the car on the drive over.

I arrived at 10 am, as requested, to find a smartly dressed, showered Joshua waiting on the settee with two members of staff. I handed over the bouquet that I had bought for the team and cried, then hugged those staff. Joshua hugged me too and looked curious as to why was mum so upset. We loaded him and his luggage and wheelchair into the car and there were more tears and hugs. My eyes still prickle when I think of one lady thanking me for sharing him with them and one man telling me that he was a credit to myself and my husband. They insisted that we return for a cup of coffee in the future, so that yesterday was not a final goodbye. It is never easy to go back, but I want to ensure that we do keep in touch as they will always have a special place in our hearts.

So it was a highly emotional morning , so much so that I needed a nap when I got home with Joshua , when he went upstairs to watch The Show in his bedroom. I felt much better and more rational when I woke up, although I had puffy eyes for the rest of the day.Joshua was delighted to be back with us and we enjoyed a fun day together; he is always my shadow after a spell in respite, as though he needs to keep me near for a while, so it was good to have the extra bank holiday Monday off together. It is back to school today but for just a four day week and then in three weeks time already, it will be half term already….

We have been brought face to face with Transition again this week, as I, not Joshua, struggle to adapt to change. Of course I reflect on how much more upsetting leaving school will be next July. If I sobbed so hard to leave respite after almost four years, when he went there every fourth weekend, how much tougher will it be to leave school where he will have been for 9 years, five days a week? I have never attended the Leavers assembly at school, but I can imagine that I would be an emotional wreck after that. Still we have over another year to worry about that, so for now, we are going to make the most of a four day school week…..!