Where are you now?

As the door on 2014 softly closes, I think of you once more.  It’s three years since you passed away, yet I still remember you every day.  I hear your voice in my head.  I ask you questions.  I miss so much: that feeling of safety and security that only a parent can give, your advice, your help, your presence.

But now you’re gone to some place where I cannot find you.  There is no grave for me to visit or lay flowers.  Your ashes were scattered from the summit of a Scottish mountain, according to your wishes.  So all that was left of you was borne away by the breeze to who knows where.

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I think we’ve finally cracked Christmas

I think we’ve finally cracked Christmas

Well apart from the decorations.  I don’t seem to have a festive bone in my body.  Give me a bunch of holly, ivy and eucalyptus and you’ll end up with something for burning in the fireplace not putting on the mantel.  Still, I tried.

You see we haven’t spent many Christmases at home — last year it happened accidentally and we just made the best of it, so this year I wanted it to be really special.  And put myself under far too much pressure of course.

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Every day is like Sunday

Especially at Christmas time.

And it was silent and grey as I headed out to the Farmleigh Christmas Market with Smiley, but also calm and mild.  Just right for a relaxing stroll and maybe some last minute shopping.

You see I’m still looking for the perfect present for Smiley.  After all what do you buy for a young adult with very special needs who already has everything that she needs?  And she can’t tell me what she wants either.  I had this half formed idea about her waking up on Christmas Day to find her room transformed into a sparkly grotto as a special surprise, but soon realised that I would not be able to do that without wakening her.  So I’ve been doing a little each day.  Inspired I am not.

I forgot to post this earlier, if you would like to find out what happened see here

Reasons to be cheerful about Christmas

Okay so I’m doing a bit of cheating here and mashing together two posts, but it does make sense, as you’ll see.  There are lots of reasons to be cheerful and grateful right now, not just because of Christmas, but also a sense of how lucky we are as a family to be living in Ireland, and not Pakistan or Syria, or Ukraine or Sierra Leone or Mexico or any of the other countries where terrible things are being done to ordinary people.  And at last we have a reasonably happy home life too.

We’ve got a year’s supply of chocolate, and I’ve finally got a lamp for the living room, which is helping me to fall in love with my house all over again: it is lovely, but looking after it on top of everything else feels like too much sometimes.

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No-one clapped #OneLastTime

Otherwise known as our review of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, written entirely of my own volition with no free tickets involved.  If you’re not a Tolkien nut, you might want to find something else to read about now!

The release of the final Hobbit film was always going to be a major event in this house.  I discovered the book about 1970 and read it compulsively until I could quote great chunks of it off by heart.  I still return to it occasionally, and its comforting familiarity and Tolkien’s way with words, draws me in every time.  Now I own all the books about Middle Earth, several copies of some of them, and they’ve been well thumbed by me and by my children.  We have videos and DVDs of the films, and we’ve been waiting all year for this, the final chapter.

But it wasn’t the film that I wanted to see.  Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed it, and I LOVED some of the performances:  Bilbo, Thorin, Bard, and Balin in particular.  They were all wonderful.  Dain the dwarf king was an entertaining surprise, and some of the battle scenes were impressive.  And I can’t wait to see it again, this time in 3D which perhaps will make a difference to my opinion.

BUT….

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Disability lessons from Áras Attracta abuse

The UK had Winterbourne, now Ireland has Áras Attracta.

A similarly dreadful story of undercover reporters filming the abuse of adults with intellectual disabilities in a care home.  I did not see the programme, I could not bear to watch it, because after I die, my daughter may be put in a place like that.  It’s the nightmare that haunts me every day.  So I had to write about this issue, before everyone moves on to the next big scandal.

In the meantime there’s been lots of hand wringing and promises of enquiries and improvements in training and wages.  But my experience as the mother of a severely disabled young adult is that the issue goes much deeper.

There is still a huge problem with the way that the world views those with physical or intellectual disabilities. And the more severe the problem, the worse the attitude.  Obviously not everyone: there are plenty of people in my daughter’s life who treat her as an equal human being.  One who needs a bit more help to live a fulfilling life.  But some do not.
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Dancing out of my comfort zone

It’s so easy to get stuck in a middle aged rut.  Doing the same things, going to the same places, wondering why you seem to be bumping along the bottom of life, while your brain gets slow and sludgy.

Do crosswords.  That’s what everyone says, and I always have good intentions, but somehow they just don’t make me want to jump up and down with excitement.

I thought that blogging was enough.  I’ve learned to code and argue with Google and write blog posts that people want to read.  I can do it now.  It’s a hobby, but it’s no longer a challenge.

But am I looking for a challenge?  Surely I have enough of those in my everyday life already!

Then a friend of mine encouraged me to join her at a ‘shape up and dance’ class.  I was expecting it to be a bit of exercise and a bit of fun.  Which of course it is.

But then a week or two in, as I was trying to learn all the names of the steps, and coordinate arms, legs and music without causing a pile-up by the fireplace, our lovely instructor casually dropped in a new word….

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