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2020…. Don’t look back in anger

So here we are…. the last blog of 2020.

I have seen many posts on social media all day but the best one I have seen is that of Mercedes Zoe that says

“It’s not 2020s fault. I feel like everyone is being mean to it and it can’t have helped what happened. We humans are to blame! Not the poor year. I love you 2020. Its ok, you did your best”

The truth is, I don’t hate 2020. I hate some of the things that took place this year, but I also know many good things happened also.

Up until March 2020 I was on overdrive. Trying to juggle many plates at many speeds. And despite me checking myself at the end of 2019 that I would make more time for myself in 2020 and do what was right for me…3 months in and that had long gone out of the window. I was low. I felt pressured. I worked mad hours. I had not long returned from working away from home for a week, living in a hotel, texting my daughter good morning and good night.

I stepped in to 2020 with so many plans and quickly got eaten up by what I call “My old life”.

And then boom…. just like that…. on my 40th birthday, on the 23/3/20…. life changed for every single one of us.

I cried so hard for the first 5 days of that lock down. I cried for so many reasons. I was scared. I didn’t know what was going to happen.

I remember on around day 4 ,I opened my front door to take the rubbish out. I was debating where to go and try and get some eggs as I had none. I had cried all morning. As I stepped out the door I almost fell over two boxes on the floor. I looked down and realised that they were egg boxes. I dropped my bag of rubbish on the floor and almost threw myself to the floor, on my knees, slowly opening the first box.

 EGGS!!! Eggs in the egg box. I seriously could not believe it. I opened the second box…and you gussed it…more eggs.

I will not play this down or hype it up in anyway…. I simply held these two boxes of eggs like two small babies and I sobbed on my doorstep. Because my daughter at the time, lived mainly on eggs. It’s a texture thing. A SEN child does not understand that Mummy cannot get eggs. She wants eggs. So, when I didn’t have eggs, she refused to eat dinner for two days. She didn’t speak for two days. She lay in bed trying to understand what the hell had happened and why everything had to keep changing,

I received a text an hour or so from my friend Becky that simply said “Nev dropped eggs, did you get them”

It went on for weeks. Different people dropping different things to my door…. eggs, fruit, pasta.

I don’t drive. I could not get a food delivery. At the time, I had never left my daughter at home for more than a few minutes and I could not take her with me to the shops…. I was trapped.

And people helped me. People from work, friends, neighbours. People texted. People asked.

And I learned to adapt. I left my daughter at home, safe and calm, and went to the shops. I learnt what shops stocked what food when. I learned to cook new things. I learned that I could get melons in the local garage every Wednesday.

Me and my daughter learned to adapt. To try new things.

And so the learning continued. Man…. I learned more about myself in 2020 than I have done in 39 years on this earth.

I learnt that I am stronger than I thought I was, That’s for sure.

Like so many people this year, everything changed. People had to build a new life and for me personally, I was terrified at first.

I had to continue to work full time through lock down, but in a new way. Zoom calls and emails become my new world and I had to leant how to safeguard children from afar. Code words and firm conversations started to take place.

I had to become a teacher to my daughter. With no online learning. I spent a night creating a structure, a curriculum if you will, to cover the next two months. I went online and ordered bug kits, science kits, things to build and make. I created daily lessons from 9-2, Monday to Friday. We got up each morning and we treated -2 as school time.

I doubt if many of you have met my daughter…. but know this…if you think any of the above sounds cute and fun…It was not. Not even a little bit.

I had to become her teacher, her friend, her doctor…. everything. For a long time, it was just the two of us, just like now, day after day. In the house. And it was hard. Beyond hard.

And from this I learnt more about my daughter’s SEN that I ever could have without being all these things, I discovered how she thinks in the classroom, what she can understand and what she cannot.

My daughter, she stopped ticking and by May not one tick was being presented. The pressure of actually attending school each day was massive. The anxiety around trying to navigate school life no longer exited and right before my eyes I saw my daughter grow. Bloom. Whatever you want to call it.

I would never take my daughter out of main stream education full time for many reasons…. but that pause…. that time to just be, changed who she is. I was so worried about her transition to secondary school in September. And due to the time we spent together at home and the work we did around this transition…. she stated secondary school a different child.

I learned to appreciate …everything.

I remember sitting in my garden one morning, it was a bit cold but very sunny. It was about 6 in the morning. I just stood there and cried/laughed. Because this was my garden. With insects, and a swing and my cats. I sat on my chair minding my own business and I felt free. Not trapped at all …. free. Free of the daily race I had been part of so long…get up, eat, dress…. Go to work…. worry about my daughter…come home…. cook…work…. arguing with my daughter about school tomorrow …. sleep…get up

And now…I didn’t live like that

I was getting up at 6am refreshed…. tidy up and then online yoga in my living room, watching the world go by…wake up my daughter and allow her to wake up calmly…. school and my work…. lunch together…. sit in the garden if it was nice…. then play some games with her…. sit in the garden…maybe light a fire in the evening

Swear down…. I had never known anything like it

Don’t get it twisted, I’m not saying it was like that all the time. I had children whose parents died during lock down. Dads sobbing down the phone that they felt worthless because they had lost their jobs, families falling apart.

I couldn’t see my sons. They were so far away and I f they got sick I wold have to choose …do I leave my daughter…or go to them

My daughter got sick. Not Covid…But I had to put off the hospital for as long as I could. 48 hours with a temperature over 40. She stated to go limp so we went to the hospital. Initially we were treated as if she had covid, of course. They come to me at one point…asking if I would wait outside the room she was in.

I refused.

I refused and made a “joke” that I would handcuff myself to her. Me and the doctor both looked at the back pack I had brought with me.

Lots of tears…me…. her…my friends

I learned that I can only do my best. I leaned that most people are trying to do their best

I learned who my friends are….and those people who use the word “friend” but don’t know the meaning of it.

I have learned the power of listening and making someone know that you hear them.

I learnt that I have some demons that need to be addressed.

You see 2020 has been a bastard of a year….at times.

But I still laughed at times. I have been part of online zoom quizzes that made wee come out. Serious.

I, like many people, have had a lot of time to reflect. And reflect I did.

2020 was the year that I met “Blondy” for the first time in many years. Really met her…saw her…heard her. And from that I created Blondys people that …I promise you now…. was better than any counselling sessions I could have paid for. I met some epic people, had some mad conversations and each interview gave me a piece of me back. And gave Blondy a voice.

Can you imagine that….2020…. the year Blondy got to say “what about me”

2020 is when I went on Channel 4 news….interrupted John Snow and made people know that we can not exclude our children from school! ( I think John liked it)

I won’t be leaving 2020 angry and stamping…. Far from it.

I will leave 2020 like I am leaving someone I have been through war with. Because for me, I feel like I have been through some kind of war…. emotionally and mentally.

I say goodbye to 2020 with love and respect. A long hug and whispers to each other of how we did our best. The kind of goodbye when your kind of sway as you hug because you both know that yes. This is goodbye…. but bwoy…. people won’t understand unless they were with you.

I leave 2020 with mad respect…. For myself and those around me. I say thank you to 2020 for showing me what is actually important in life

2020 has not been the worst year ever. It’s been a hard year, for sure. It has been a tragic year, that is true.

I cried the first time I walked into the shop and there was rows of fresh fruit….veg…eggs. I stood in Tesco and had a moment. A lady walked past me and said “Beautiful aint it”…

I cried when I hugged old friends, when some songs played, when it was very sunny ( Before all this, I would fight crying….not now…not anymore)

But haven’t you grown?

Haven’t you changed?

Good or bad, we needed the pause. We needed to stop for breath. The world needed to stop. Evaluate. Take time.

I have started to watch TV again due to the lockdown. At first this was alien to me…but…I must say…I like it.

Peaky Blinders is my poison at the moment I would like to walk into 2021 with the following quote

“Never assume that loud is strong and quite is weak. The fiercest storms rise from the calmest seas” – Thomas Shelby

My mum always said….” Kendra, the worst thing anyone can do is underestimate you….it will always be their downfall…not yours”

My mum has not been wrong yet….

2021…. come on then…lets be having ya





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