The night before each of my children’s birthdays is an emotional experience. Lots of thoughts and reflections whizz through my mind alongside many images.
As a mum of a disabled adult with complex needs the whole birthday experience is a roller coaster of feelings and memories. Nothing is taken for granted .
Every minute, every hour and every day is precious. Life and our children are only loaned to us on a temporary basis. I know too many mums who have lost their children.
The milestones we reach together are celebrated and each one feels like we have just climbed an enormous mountain. Hard work getting there but goddam worth it for the view at the top. Enjoying the descent down and the times that feel easier, building our resilience, but aware of the next challenge around the corner.
After having come so close to losing a second twin baby every time I hear an ambulance years later it still brings back a shudder down my spine. Sirens make me cold, I can feel the air being sucked out of me, my legs feel like jelly and I breathe a sigh of relief as I automatically do a double count of where everyone is, just to check we are all safe and sound. It is a habit.
Family holidays, days out, Sunday dinners, seeing the kids smile together, laughter, the dogs sneakily eating the chicken sandwiches, walking to school with all 6 children, camping, driving altogether in our big green van, having a house full of friends round for a BBQ, sick children coming into our bed to feel safe and loved, and cuddles on the sofa. That is what life is about.
Another birthday comes and goes. Another candle for Liam. Another year of making the impossible possible. Another year of being amazed by my daughter.