Wednesday, 21 November 2007

21Nov07 - Welcome Home Dad

I have been away from home for a long three days working in Holland and have really missed the children. Its funny, sometimes you are quite happy to get a break but as soon as you are away you miss it and want to be back.

In the early days it was a relief to escape from all the mess and I didn’t really want to be at home. It took such a long time to really get to know Lucy and at first it didn’t feel like I had another child. It was all give, give, give and it seemed like she was never going to give anything back. In fact the whole thing was hopeless. Trying every day to get some glimmer of a response, something that I could work on, some way of Lucy showing me that she knew I was there or something that would say to me, “Don’t give up, it’s not all as bad as you think”. For so long, I believed that Lucy would never know that I was her father or even know that she was part of our family. As I got to know Lucy and she developed she slowly started to respond with noises and movements that I learnt to recognise. When this happened it changed my whole outlook but something Lucy’s consultant said still played heavily on my mind. When Lucy was about 8 weeks old, I had asked the consultant what Lucy’s life expectancy was likely to be. She explained that children with Lucy’s complex problems were much more susceptible to all sorts of nasty things that I can’t really remember, particularly chest infections, and had gone on to state that Lucy may not live past 3 years old. I can remember not dwelling this too much at the time but afterwards and for the following three years I thought about it a lot. I could not look beyond her third birthday and in a way I wanted to skip this period of my life. I often pictured what her funeral would be like and how I would feel visiting her tiny little grave. I wondered how all of us would cope and how we would ever be able to move on. Sometimes it made me feel incredibly sad and other times I will be honest it was more a feeling of relief. I guess relief because everything seemed so futile, Lucy’s life was such a struggle to begin with and I just could not see past this 3 year brick wall. Of course thinking this way brought with it intense feelings of guilt because nobody should think this way about their own children. However Lucy grew stronger and stronger and it became clear to me that she was going to be healthy. I knew I shouldn’t put a limit on her life with us but the 3 year thing was still a mental barrier for me. I always half expected her to get sick and worried whenever she was that it would progress into something she would not be able to overcome. I suppose because I knew I couldn’t fix it, I retreated from the whole situation and found comfort in escaping from it. It was a horrible way to feel and I wish now that I had made more of that time. Lucy has proved everyone wrong many times over and I see her now as such a strong, happy little girl and I would not change her one bit. Her third birthday was a huge moment for me and when it came it brought an overwhelming sense of relief. I said a big thank you prayer and began to look forward to her next one. The future will bring whatever it brings with no limits or preconceptions. I will still worry like any parent would but I am just glad to be past that 3 year hurdle.

Now when I am away I really miss not being around to see those little smiles and half giggles that she gives me. I know now that she definitely knows who her father is and we have got such a very special relationship, which I never expected to have. I sneaked into her bedroom at about 22:30 when I got home because I knew she was still awake. As soon as I spoke to her she moved her arms and I could tell she was listening. I gave her a little kiss and she gave me the biggest smiles. My heart melted and I had to get her out and have a big cuddle. It will certainly go down in my memory as one of the best welcomes I have ever had. Standing there in the dark, with Lucy in my arms, I knew it was good to be home.


fairenuff said...

It certainly is GOOD to be home!

Margo said...

Welcome home Neil.
Sounds like a wonderful hello from Lucy. That little girl says more in one smile than most people say in a full lifetime. I have never known a smile get so far into my heart as one from my little louby does.
Love to you all xXx

Ben said...

That's interesting you saw 3yrs as a big milestone as that is exactly the same time as I see for Jonah. For some reason getting to and beyond 3yrs old seems like a very significant milestone.

I don't keep a blog but I try to keep photojournal updated. If you have the time and inclination it's outlined in very broad terms on my Facebook account:

Neil said...

Ben it was great to see the pictures on facebook. Jonah has got such an amazing smile. I can see that there have been some rough times with Jonah. He must be tough little kid and you must be very proud of him. I have bookmarked your page now and look forward to following Jonah's progress. Let me know if it is ok to add a link to your album on Lucy's blog.

Nicky said...

I was glad that lucy is well again, it is amazing how a smile can say so much, I think we all need to do it more!