To anyone reading this who is a parent with school aged children, you will know exactly what I mean when I say how hellish the mornings can sometimes be!
Fights over breakfast, lunch boxes and last minute attempts at homework. Squeals and strops halfway to school at the realisation of a forgotten sports kit or project - and that’s on a good day, when everything is going well.
Imagine what it must be like to have to start at 6am, to begin the routine of washing, toileting and feeding – every day, seven days a week.
I spent time talking to Lianne, her father and her very able active little sister on Thursday during our special day at Woburn Safari Park.
When Lianne meets you, she takes a few minutes to register your face; she locks on to you with her eyes, and if she likes what she sees, treats you to a dazzling smile. She took immense pleasure from seeing the animals and I think she was stimulated by the excitement which was generated by being in the company of lots of other people, and the overall buzz of the day. What was also fantastic was that her little sister had a treat and really enjoyed it also.
Lianne’s father knocked me out with his obvious love and devotion for his daughter.
If Lianne likes you, she dazzles you with her smile, but it’s nothing like the smile she has for her dad. When he leans over and tells her that he’s hers forever and she is the one he loves, the look she gives him puts a lump in your throat.
When my daughter complained about having to work all day on Sunday on her textiles project and had a major strop about having to work and not going for a swim, I wanted to shout at her and tell her how lucky she was. But what was I going to shout about? That I was being put through an afternoon of teenage nonsense and moodiness? That she should count herself lucky? Would she understand what I was talking about?
I thought of Lianne’s father and his devotion and patience, and felt very selfish indeed.
I packed the bag and we went for a swim - life’s too short for projects and shouting.