What makes a hero?
Christopher Reeve once said "A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles."
This post is about the ordinary heroes, the many heroes that continually help my family - who help Stanley. Those who look at this little boy and see through his stubborn behaviour and the hitting out and the meltdowns. Family, friends, social workers, behaviour psychologists, dieticians, speech therapists, occupational therapists and guidance counsellors. Teachers, assistants and respite carers... For this I thank you...
My mum who babysits both my boys - sometimes at the drop of a hat, so me and Jamie can work or have date night. My dad who runs the boys to and from school and nursery - even if he does get the occasional kick in the nuts for the privilege. Thank you.
My close friends who look after me and raise me up when I'm feeling down with laughter and cake. Who text to check how I am if I put a sad status on Facebook or go quiet for a few weeks. Who actually ask "how's Stanley" when we speak on the phone. Who don't get tired of hearing my shit. You know who you are. I love you all.
The many respite carers who look after Stanley both day and overnight so me and Jamie can have one to one time with our youngest. They encourage him to sit in his seat and to finish his tea. To try new things and activities. To keep his shoes on and remind him to wash his hands after the toilet. The service you provide is priceless.
The teacher who worked endlessly for 2 years to get the best out of Stanley and help him grow and learn life skills. Developing strategies, behaviour plans and IEPs, who doesn't judge when Stanley 'lamps her one' when things don't quite go the way he wants or when I'm crying in the reception area after morning drop off cause' I've "had enough".
The occupational therapists, social workers and speech therapists who work with me and Stanley devising exercises, sharing ideas, constructing timelines and visuals, arranging and attending meetings and for always being a shoulder to cry on -which almost always leads to them running late for their next visit. But never once making me feel like I'm keeping them.
The dietitian who gave me ideas on how to get Stanley to try new foods - but assured me that it's not the end of the word he lives on chicken nuggets, chips and toast. And that tomato ketchup really can go on anything.
My doctor who listens to me when I'm low. Who doesn't make me feel like I'm wasting her time and who telephoned me when I missed an appointment once - just to touch base.
The kind man who drives him all of 2 minutes home on the blue bus after boccia on a Friday - and who always say "he's been good as gold" when he's clearly been a monkey!
The sweet lady in Macdonalds who always say "hello Stanley" when we walk in, offers colouring to occupy us (and doesn't get offended when they are thrown back in her face) and brings our order to the table because she sees we have our hands full.
I have so many stories I could tell you. These are my guardian angels. Ordinary people. They share my burden, they join me in my hopes and prayers. They live their own busy lives, going to work every day after dropping of their own children to school, making packed lunches and washing up the dishes. They are tireless and don't judge.
They don't put Stanley in a box. They know there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to care or curriculum.
They are the unsung heroes and from the bottom of my heart... Thank you all.