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Sunday, 19 April 2015

Keeping up with Baby Bolt!

And I'm pooped!
So these toddler months are making having a newborn look like a walk in the park- a sleep walk, but a walk none the less.
Walking doesn't seem to happen much in our lives anymore.
If my monkey is not asleep then she is running, running and running some more and generally in completely the wrong direction to where I want/need her to be!
This is slightly problematic when you are incapable of running yourself.
On many occasions this is humorous, but there are times when this frankly scares the poop out of me.
Yes, we have the reins and the cunning backpack to make her think she's got independence, but really she is attached through the bag to a lead like the dog and at times she will sit on my lap or in the push along scooter, but mostly the girl just loves to run!
The other day at a trip to the park with my friend, her toddler and her dog and Florrie and Barley, Florrie's love of running took her on an adventure off the pathway and through the woods after my friend's fun loving Beagle- (Beagle and Florrie have very similar mischievous spirits!).
In hindsight my friend and I considered we perhaps bit off a little more than we could chew as our 'kill two birds with one stone' idea of exercising dogs and toddlers together to ensure an afternoon of naps so that we could both sit at our computers in relative peace and actually get some work done without toddler and pooch interruptions-  seemed a little ambitious.
What should have taken us 20 minutes or so, took us well over an hour, as dogs swam in lakes, toddlers attempted to follow dogs into lakes, toddlers decided to walk, then go on trikes, then swap trikes for each other's trikes before both deciding that my lap was the perfect place to sit in order to complete our 'trek'.
By the time we reached the play park and cafe at the far side of the lake, my friend and I were
ready for a Tanquarey and tonic rather than the modest tea we had to settle for!
My friend kindly insisted we got through the marathon as a team, tag teaming watching out for toddlers and cheeky pooches, but I am well aware of everything that she did for me and Florrie and the workload was far from 50-50!
Running off paths when Florrie went off piste and chasing her when she had tunnel vision running for whatever play activity in the park she had decided she just had to go on that very second- my friend must have been exhausted after our 'relaxing' morning stroll!
My daughter is determined, very cheeky and at times pretty darn mischievous and I can't keep up with her in the way I would love to, so in situations like today I have to rely on good friends to help me out and then I feel that familiar feeling again- GUILT. Only this time it's not only guilt for Florrie that I am not the one chasing after her, but also to the friends who are whizzing around doing the chasing for me.
I hope upon hope that she learns to listen soon- like tomorrow, that would be useful as Garry has gone away this evening for five days with work.
Before you start, don't you dare feel sorry for him.
Having just completed his last operational flying role in the RAF, detachments to sandier climes are thankfully now a thing of the past- this is a taxing work trip to...
Wait for it....
The RAF Surf championships in Cornwall!
Still sandy I suppose, but not quite in the way he has been used to over the last couple of decades, and still apparently military 'duty'!
So that leaves me flying solo with pooch and pickle as the unseasonably warm weather means more trips outdoors, and outdoors means more running!
My friend joked today that in some ways it may be a blessing that I have the chair, as she doesn't think many people could keep up with Florrie on foot, able bodied or not!
I mean it, athletics scouts should come and check her out, we may have a future Olympian on our hands.
Until she matures enough to understand and obey all of the commands I give her, I am going to have to do one of two things, keep her on a tight leash- literally! Or accept help occasionally from others-
something that anyone who knows me knows that I am rubbish at doing.

My husband jokes that I say 'sorry' more than any other person on this earth.
I feel so incredibly bad to see other people having to do things for me, but I am so incredibly blessed to have had some truly wonderful people in my life over the last nine years doing some truly wonderful things.
Accepting people's help is tricky enough at the best of times, but when you are a fiercely independent stubborn old fool like myself, it becomes one of the hardest parts of accepting and living your life
after an illness or injury.
I have lost so many hours awake at night through pain to worrying about having to accept people's help to do everything from shopping to shampooing my hair, and washing myself to walking my dog- and what these friends and family must think of me: whether I was selfish to have Florrie and have to accept even more help from my loved ones and whether they think their relationship with me is unbalanced as there isn't an awful lot I can do for them in return.
You may be getting the gist that this is a real hang up of mine!
This has been one of the hardest emotional obstacles to overcome since my accident and my subsequent issues.
To those who haven't experienced life after illness or injury this may seem a bizarre one- you must surely be thinking that being unable to do certain physical activities you once loved would be far greater issues, but from my many discussions with people who have experienced similar situations to my own I have established that mine is a remarkably common concern.

I have lost friends over the last nine years, many it's true may just have drifted anyway over nearly a decade, and some I believe have been lost either because they could not take the fact I could not give a lot back to them physically or at times even emotionally as a friend, or because I have subconsciously distanced myself as my guilt that they have/would ended up doing too much for me became too great.

For everyone who has ever come to visit me when I have been bed bound, sent me a 'thinking of you'
card, text, email, Facebook post when I have had relapses, run me to a hospital appointments, come to keep me company when Garry has been away with the RAF or retrieved my child or dog for me during one of their little adventures, this is for you- thank you.
I don't think I'll ever be able to thank you all adequately for all that you've done for me.
But this is me once again attempting to articulate my feelings of inadequacy.

I am a big fan of the writings of Joni Eareckson Tada, for those of you who have not heard me rave about her before, Joni is an incredibly inspirational lady who became paralysed at the age of only 17 after a diving accident.
Joni has dedicated the decades since this time to inspiring others to keep a positive outlook on life and live whatever life you have been blessed with to the fullest.

Joni also happens to share the faith which has grown in me and kept me strong through some dark times since my own accident, although interestingly enough, immediately after her own accident her faith was far from there, like many in a position of bereavement or illness or injury, it was rocked and she felt the familiar feelings of bitterness and anger and spent many a night blaming her God.
She has written a daily devotional book I read morning and night to keep me inspired and upbeat and yesterday's insight into her spirit focused on exactly this time in her life when she was angry with God and with life in general and took this frustration out on the friends and family around her.
In my darkest days I have spent way too much time taking things out on my loved ones- you take things out on those closest to you apparently- I'll certainly agree with that theory.
Whether I've told you, or shown you or not please know everyone I am grateful for you all and all of the little things (and big) that you have done to help me keep living my life that I love over the last nine years.
It is perhaps the smallest things that may not seem like anything to you that make the biggest difference to me, like running after my toddler as well as your own so that I can keep taking Florrie out into the outside world and not keep her imprisoned in the home and garden we have worked to adapt to work the best for our family to keep her safe.
To the friend in question who helped me this week and to you all who've helped with the small things and the big- thank you.
Today I'm feeling incredibly thankful for you all, I am so acutely aware that I wouldn't have half the full life that I do today, without accepting your help, whether that has been easy or not. 
You have quite literally given me my life back. 
Big hugs for that.
Now I'm off to bed at the same time as my 20 month old! Zzzzzzzzz