Yesterday I heard some tragic news. One of my son's friends lost his Mum in a horse riding accident earlier this week. She was the same age as me and her only son just 18. The two teamed up at the age of three at playgroup and we had the dubious pleasure of being the only parents with offspring that had their very own behaviour charts. Often we commiserated at the end of the session when one or usually both of us received the news again that they had they had another black mark. They were loving little boys but could be little devils. I always maintain that my child grew horns on this 3rd birthday. Through this shared experience we formed an unlikely bond which built as we discovered that we lived near one another and both boys would be in the same class when they started at school.
During the years in infants and juniors our two continued to be friends. Still naughty and often disruptive, we often got together for endless cups of tea and chats whilst the boys played or created mayhem. Somehow it was always easier if we were there together to deal with them..we each understood what it was like and how challenging/wearing it could be. On the playground we both experienced a certain degree of shunning....we both drew the conclusion that people were pointing the finger at us and our "poor parenting skills" yet both the boys came from stable, loving backgrounds and we were both old school when it came to discipline, manners and appropriate praise/chastisement. Thankfully their school was a very enlightened one with a fantastic SENCO...we both worked with her and discovered that the boys came under the umbrella of SEN [different diagnoses] and suddenly a lot of things fell into place. Over the next few years we supported each other as we had to go through stressful rounds of meetings with specialists fighting for the funding that our boys needed. Both of us admitted we had dark times when we feared for their futures but on a practical level we often shared childcare when one or other of us was working because they always behaved for us impeccably on those occasions.
Over time the boys moved up to senior school. They formed new friendships and moved on and gradually A and I stopped meeting up. We would always stop for a long chinwag if we ran into one another. As for the boys....our fears were not realised. Both have turned out into decent young men with good values who have not gone off the rails. Mine is preparing for his A Levels and then a year of paid/voluntary work before he takes up his place at Uni. B is at college training for the career he's known that he wanted to do since he was a nipper.
A was tiny, a firebrand with a wicked sense of humour. She had issues with rejection following her adoption and found it hard to trust. It was therefore a very moving moment when she confided that I was the only person she felt comfortable leaving B with beyond her own family unit. Her son and partner were her world and riding was her escape from stress. She will be hugely missed.