When we found out about Chris’ diagnosis, it was my kids, especially Lily, I thought of first.
I knew that regardless of anything else that was going on, I needed to keep things as normal as possible for them.
To make sure I was there for bedtime and that they were at home as much as they could be, to make sure they weren’t passed from pillar to post and that they had stability.
That Lily could ask me anything and I would be honest with her, telling her what I knew when I knew it so she didn’t have to worry about the unknown (Sam has no idea).
To make sure that they still had fun even if it’s not always with us (my friends have now become her friends according to her), to make sure that they kept smiling and that we kept creating memories.
I question myself often when it comes to parenting.
Wonder whether I am doing a good enough job for them.
I am not the mum who bakes (or cooks) or does crafts very well (all the gear, no idea) and my house is always a mess
School uniform is ready last-minute, I forget to practice spellings and homework is always a rush.
I let them eat far too many sweets, sometimes they stay up too late on a school night and more often than I like my temper is short.
I am not always winning, I often look like I have rolled out of bed into the nearest clothes in the pile on the floor I’ve yet to put away (I usually have), and I probably play on my phone too much.
Something happened recently and I knew that although I might not have it all together most of the time, we must be doing something right.
It was about the leg, or now lack of leg.
We’ve been talking about the amputation with her for months, showing her videos of other people with lost limbs and setting her expectations about what Chris will be able to do at first and what he will be able to do in the future.
I wanted Lily to see Chris as soon as she could. She’s a little apprehensive about hospitals and won’t give you a cuddle if you’ve got so much of a scratch.
I asked her teachers if I could pick her up from school at lunchtime on the Thursday after his operation.
She was very excited that I had managed to get her out of school AND that she got out of lessons to make a giant card for all her friends to sign for him.
When we got to him she gave him the biggest hug, fake gagged at the catheter bag and had a look around the room.
‘Can I see it daddy? Pull your sheet back so I can see the bandage.’
‘Can I borrow your iPad?’
Already she just saw her daddy as he’d always been.
Having one leg was never going to change that for her.
Her reaction certainly helped put Chris’ mind at ease and I’ve not doubt helped with how positive he’s been and how quickly he recovered.
Now she’s planning on being world champion wheelchair pusher.