This week I’ve spent my first night in our local Acorn’s children’s hospice, giving the staff chance to get to know my little one whilst I’m on hand and I cannot believe how amazing this place is.
When Livvy was still with us the word hospice filled me with fear. As far as I was concerned a hospice was where children went to die.
I was so wrong it’s a place where children live.
In the last 24 hours I have seen so much laughter,
so much love
so much life.
Children with smiles that light up a room, laughter than echoes through the corridors.
It’s a truly wonderful place , full of staff that really care for the children and for who nothing is too much trouble.
I cannot believe how wrong I was.
Yes it’s a place that cares for severely disabled children but it’s not the disabilities that are seen here it’s the characters, the spirits. Here in this special place children are simply that children.
It’s a welcome relief for parents knowing they have a place that their children can go and be cared for whilst they get their much needed respite.
It’s a magical place where children can escape the boring parents have fun and laughter with friends.
Honestly it’s beautiful.
The support that families receive is second to none. I personally know of two families who walked the painful journey of losing their child with Acorns by their side. Of course it doesn’t stop the pain but having someone who understands is priceless.
I have really enjoyed my stay here and I know little one has too. We are looking forward to more visits and the making of more memories.
Please take a look at what amazing things Acorns achieve.
The children and families they support
Acorns has helped over 2,470 children and their families since it was established in 1988
Last year2, Acorns supported over 760 children and more than 980 families, including those who are bereaved:
Acorns is currently supporting:
Over 250 children and around 340 families at Acorns in Birmingham3
Over 200 children and over 280 families at Acorns in the Black Country3
Over 190 children and more 250 families at Acorns for the Three Counties3
Please take time today to check out your local children’s hospice and maybe even consider making 2016 the year you decide to fundraise for them. Every penny raised in a penny towards keeping families together and children happy. The services and support is so needed.
For more information on Acorns and how you could support them visit here…
Wow today My husband and I celebrate 19 years of marriage, I think one or both of us deserve a medal or five ha ha.
What have I learned in the last 19 years?
Well, marriage is hard, fighting at times to stay together when walking away would be easier.
Learning to accept that you are both far from perfect. That you both are works in progress.
I’ve had to learn patience to understand when he doesn’t get me. To work harder at communicating. I cannot expect him to know what I’m thinking and feeling when for the most part I never know myself.
I’m sure he will tell you that listening is so important that often underneath my rage is me just asking to be loved. That somethings which seem little to him are often important to me.
I know I’ve had to learn to listen better too, sometimes when he says he doesn’t want to, it maybe because he feels uncomfortable or unsure. I have to learn not to expect him to have the answers all the time.
Time apart is good, it doesn’t mean you love each other less it’s about respecting the fact that you have different ideas of fun. Whilst a library may be my favourite place Alan so prefers his RC clubs or getting his hands dirty in his shed.
The kids are crafty they won’t think twice about playing mom and dad off against each other. So communicate as parents. “Dad said it was ok” has been my girls favourite since they became teens. Now dad says “I will check with mom” and vice and versa.
Love needs work, it’s so easy to get caught up in being parents, in work, that we forget to work on being husband and wife, on being lovers. Date nights are great but even an hour chatting together is lovely.
I still cannot believe it’s been 19 years since I said I will. Some days I want to strangle him, yet sometimes when he smiles at me or reaches for my hand I get that little flip in my stomach that takes me back to that 19 year old girl who fell head over heals.
I can honestly say it hasn’t been an easy 19 years. We have faced the worst heartbreak that can happen to parents, the loss of a child. Yet somehow instead of pulling apart we pulled together. Grief can destroy the strongest marriages but somehow we managed to grieve together. I had to learn that sometimes he cannot find the words to share his pain. He has had to understand that sometimes I have too many words.
I guess if truth be told I was lucky I fell in love with a man who wasn’t scared of fighting for what he wants. All the times I’ve tried to pull away he has just stayed strong. He understood my fear and just overrides it with love.
My husband has taught me that love can be true. That sometimes what people say is what they mean, and that promises can be kept.
I cannot believe that I have now nearly been married for half of my life. It seems crazy. In fact we have now been together over half of my whole lifetime. Most of my memories now have him at the core.
Yet still I am so excited about the future, the next 19 years.
Is it sad that I’m excited to grow old with this man.
We have so many plans, watching our girls grow up, maybe a marriage or two. Yet the greatest gift we have is being able to walk this life together.
Making new memories and cherishing on our old ones.
Happy Anniversary Alan, thank you for the last 19 years and here’s to many more.
So I’ve just returned from what I often describe as the best week of the year Special kids in the UK camp. The week where one field becomes full with family.
I believe this year for me personally has been the best year ever.
I pushed my own personal boundaries and chatted to more people than ever and have made some amazing new friends thanks to this.
The camp site we stay on is called Lower Lacon and I can say beyond any doubt that it’s one of the best sites anywhere. They go beyond anything for us all and really make the whole group feel welcome. The facilities are fantastic and always spotlessly clean.
It was certainly a busy camp with everything from adult colouring sessions to a kids magician.
My personal favourite time is always the Special Kids in the UK Olympics. There is nothing better than seeing the determination on the faces of the children as they line up to race. The wobbly walkers, manual wheelchairs and so many more. You can only imagine the intensity of the men’s race, I’m sure there is year round training for this one.
Seriously I love this afternoon it just sums up Special kids in the UK for me. Its not about being inclusive, it’s that for one week of a year there are no differences, there are no boundaries. No one looks at what our children can’t do it’s always about what they can.
This year I finally managed to watch the Ugly bug ball, The annual fancy dress competition. Again I think this year topped all previous ones. With the special guest appearance from the Spice girls, though to be honest I think Old Spices would be a better description.
Truly how amazing are they!
Add to these Miley Cyrus, a ninja and the cast of Narnia it was an awesome night.
One of the most poignant times of each camp is the balloon release. Seeing the sky filled with colour in honour of those who have gone too soon both breaks and blesses my heart. I was invited to speak before the release but emotion got the better of me. I wanted to honour all those missing but my heart was just broken. One family from our special kids family had laid their beautiful girl to rest last week. My heart just ached for the pain i know they are facing. My words just spilled into tears. Grief holds a rawness like no other.
I love this camp, it’s a week where memories are created that will last a lifetime. I love that I get to share stories of Livvy with people who remember with me. At this camp I am always a mom to four girls and I am so incredibly grateful for this.
Livvy is remembered so much on this camp and not just because her name hangs on the tea tent that we sponsor each year but also because we hold our annual Livvy’s Smile tea party. So many cakes, so many smiles no better way to remember my beautiful girl. Check out the hashtag #makingmemorieswithLivvyssmile on social media sites to see the memories we have created, Facebook especially.
All in all it was an amazing week, yes I was glad to return home to my bed but I was sad to leave this field.
I want to say a big thank you to Lower Lacon for their wonderful welcome. It seriously is a fantastic camp site and I highly recommend it.
I have especially loved watching my youngest daughter flourish. She became a little like the Pied piper this week always surrounded by children. It certainly makes sense that she wants to work with children with special needs later on in life. I’ve pinched this photo from her Facebook cover. How special is this?
I want to say thank you to the trustees for arranging an awesome week.
A massive thank you to the BBQ team for their constant effort at keeping us all fed. I didn’t realise how much you actually do each week until I camped behind you. Twice a day, every day you were there working hard and for that and the yummy curry I am truly grateful. You guys rock.
Special kids in the UK is an amazing charity from the forum to the meet ups it’s a wonderful place for parents and carers of children with disabilities to get support.
This camping week whilst a highlight of the charity is only a part of what it offers. I cant actually remember how long I have been part of this charity but I’m sure it’s been over 10 years.
If you are a parent or a carer of a child with special needs check out the website and the forum. Honestly you won’t find a bigger welcome anywhere.