Some mornings I walk along to the station next to where I work to buy some lunch. And photograph this space. I love the light, the patterns and what people are doing here. Spectacularly compelling. Well for me, anyway. But then I bloody love railway stations.
It’s a tough gig bringing up a disabled child. Yep. It shouldn’t be, I know. Appropriate, timely and sufficient support would make a huge difference. And a seismic shift in public attitudes. Of course these things overlap and I ain’t optimistic for all sorts of reasons that they will ever happen. But if they did, there would still be trickiness.
Take this morning. We’re in the midst of pretty dodgy times with LB and he’s booked into Parasol for four days for half term activities. A charity organising and supporting young disabled people’s access to, er, fun. Yep, it’s as simple as that.
“IDON’TWANTOGOTOPARASOLMUM! I’MEIGHTEENMUM! YOUCAN’TMAKEMEGO.I’MGOINGBACKTOBEDMUM!”
Like his two younger brothers who will probably sleep/doze till lunchtime. Sigh.
All sorts of thoughts and considerations….
You’re kind of right…
We don’t want another major kick off….
You can’t watch youtube all day….
We’re both working today….
“You’ve got to go.” I said. Some ranting and raging. But at a low level. And he’s off to the Kassam Stadium for a day of bowling and cinema.
Now Parasol is an enigma to me. They organise a range of activities in and around Oxford. You drop your child off at stated destinations; outside the Playhouse in the town centre, or in the ice rink car park. Or at a local community hall. Believe me. This is seriously weird to a parent subjected to years of constrained, heavily policed and overly organised out of school child care for the ‘special needs child’.
Eh? Leaving LB at a community centre with the doors wide open, kids in the car park, and helpers running around having a laugh in squirrel onesies? Hello? These kids are runners, you know?! They’ve got no sense of stranger danger or road safety???? Hey, the door is open!!! Anything could happen. Anything! You hear me???
The organisation of Parasol appears chaotic and random.
But it isn’t. It’s run by and staffed by exceptional people who enjoy the kids, understand difference and get out there and get on with it. With impeccable leadership. And, in doing so, they allow some freedom, independence and fun for this group of young people.
Anyone who takes LB, and ten or more other young dudes, to watch Les Miserables (at an ‘ordinary’ showing) is cracking on in the right direction in my book. We all just need need to catch up with them.