CREDIT Jodie Eaton
I'm sorry I couldn't be of any help today at the school when you needed the parents to pitch in to help clean up the gardens. I'm sorry I never baked those cakes I promised the kids and myself that I'd make for the cake sale.
I'm sorry I didn't have the time to fill out all those parent questionnaires or online surveys for the school. I'm sorry I'm always late with dinner money and trip fees.
I'm sorry I never manned a stall at the summer Fayre or even attended to support you.
We really wanted to come, I promise we tried.
I'm sorry to my child for forgetting to print those important family photos that you need for your topic: 'all about me'.
I'm sorry that I forgot it was your class assembly this morning where you got a certificate for settling in to year one really well. I told you a little lie. I wasn't standing at the back - I forgot. It hurts.
I'm sorry that we forgot it was your friend's birthday party on Saturday. I wrote it down, and I RSVP'd. I'm sorry I made you miss you out.
I'm sorry I sent you to school in non-uniform, a week early. I didn't get the memo that it had changed. I'm sorry I sent you in uniform when it was dress as your hero day - I must not have got that memo either
When you both were waiting for me on the field at school for our family picnic day, I'm sorry I didn't have a chance to tell you I wouldn't make it, I was called to an urgent meeting and it was vital to attend.
I'm sorry I never made it to your school trip I was supposed to come to but I had to work. I'm even more sorry that when it was your sister's turn for that trip, I had to arrange for her to go with staff because yet again another VERY important appointment was made.
You see, being a parent of a disabled child impacts the whole family, not just the child with special needs. There are lots of things my children and I have missed out on and I feel very guilty for not being able to fulfill everything that is required of me as a parent.
But most of all I'm sorry that this has to happen at all. I'm sorry for every other parent of children with disabilities that feel like me on occasion, or even for some people every single day. You shouldn't feel guilty and you shouldn't feel inadequate. You do your best every minute of every single day.
You are a GOOD parent.
You see, the reasons that I missed loads of these things, or forgot to do others, isn't because I'm a bad parent.
It isn't because I don't care.
It's because I do care, and you do too. Because each time I've forgotten or missed something it is because I was advocating for my child, or working to provide for them, or just simply because there were so many things to organise in my brain for all of my three children - two with disabilities - and my disabled partner that I don't get to enjoy you as I should.
I want to enjoy you.
I want you to enjoy me. But I need to protect your future. I need to advocate so strongly that I'm missing out on your happiness.
I love you all.
And I will never give up. But while things are settled we will have fun and we will enjoy each other.
So if you feel like a failure, just remember that while you were missing that assembly, you secured an EHCP for your child.
And when you couldn't make that summer fayre, you'd just spent two hours trying to calm an anxious child in the middle of a meltdown.
When you forgot to bake those cakes it was because you were reading soothing stories to your children who couldn't sleep that night and placating the others because of the violent outburst that ripped through the whole family.
When you missed those school trips and family school gatherings you were accompanying your disabled child to a very important hospital appointment.
Be proud of yourself, be proud of your children and remember, that love is what is important. And above all else, give yourself a break; stop being so hard on yourself. You're doing an amazing job.
This blog post was previously written for and published by Firefly: http://community.fireflyfriends.com/blog/article/im-sorry
For the full version head over to my blog page : http://autismwithlotsofloveandaffection.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/im-sorry-we-try-our-hardest-we-really-do.html