I have something very much in common with my PDA daughter and that is I am a social butterfly. We feed from the same flower nectar and rely on the same stimuli.
I was about to say that with her presentation, she sabotages those relationships by her inability to control her emotions.
Only, it’s not purely reflective of having PDA, it is a result of being a human in distress.
I crave social interaction, I don’t know when to stop talking. And yet, in my most pivotal time of need, I push those I need the most away. Being in solitude seems to me often the only way to cope. But sometimes, I need to listen and just let people in.
I have friends who have been my closest allies since school. Friends I have shared my growing up days with, friends I have holidayed with, friends I have smiled with and friends I have cried with. Friends who beg for me to let them help and friends who turn up to catch up with a glass of wine or two!
I have friends from my days at uni who are always there to offer some support, a kind word or two, or just a musical number to sing along to. It’s lucky that, with our subject area, that we all enjoy a musical!
It is with this introduction that I start my blog today.
I am lucky. I have some lovely friends. Too many to mention actually, but today I was shown true kindness from ones I have spent a long time growing up with.
These friends turned up today, with cakes and bubbles, as promised as a belated treat for my birthday. This is not something we even celebrate each year, but they decided that as I was unable to come along to social events, then they would bring the fancies to me. And of course they did that, in style. Accompanied with hampers of treats, flowers and smiles galore. As one lovely friend text, “when Mohammed can’t go to the mountain!” so they brought all of their kindness, compassion and generosity to me.
It was lucky that they shared dramatic interests and they could relish in the current ‘fascination’ we have in our PDA household – the film Oliver.
My lovely friends totally engaged with the girls and immersed themselves into the world of Oliver Twist. We sang through every musical number that appears in the film and one of these special friends even enticed PDA child by playing ‘pick a pocket’ games. These are special people, who can see past the controlling behaviours, to discover the quirky little artful dodger that is my PDA girl. No judging, no pieces of parenting of advice, just smiles. And in the mean time, this gave way to lots of fun, laughter and glasses of prosecco!
Other birthdays have been and gone without much fuss and I’ve been fine with that. You don’t really expect too much when you’re an adult.
This year was different for two very important reasons:
- On my actual birthday my daughter had one of the worst overloads that I have ever seen and I was called in to school to remove her from the premises. The first words she whispered to me was, “I’ve ruined your birthday,” and she was given a fixed term exclusion until the following week. It was a bittersweet moment, as her younger sister in nursery came home ecstatic that she had been awarded a bronze award from the headteacher for being in the pot of gold so many times. I wasn’t able to enjoy her happiness as my eldest uttered the words, “It’s not fair, I want to get one of those. I just wish I could be good.”
- I was amazed by the amount of gestures I was shown from all of my friends. It doesn’t have to be lavish or elaborate, but the effort of just being there for me is really enough – in other words, I felt loved.
I am now like a broken record, with the lyrics of Oliver, still doing loops in my brain. Friends, glorious, friends! Still worth a King’s ransom. What is it we dream about? What brings on a sigh? Piled peaches and cream about… six feet high!
I have an abundance of friends, some very important ones, some I don’t see regularly, but when I do we fit back together like glue.
Just like my daughter I sabotage my friendships, I’m indebted that these people haven’t given up on me. They are patient and understanding, they compromise and offer comfort when I’m at my lowest ebb. I have been there for each of them as a shoulder to cry on, why do I find it so hard to ask the same? These people try to help me and I reject their offers.
I just want to say to all of these friends thank you for understanding, thank you for being patient and thanks for taking things into your own hands and making things happen. I don’t know how I would have coped without the strong network of people around me.
And, please don’t give up on us! We might not see you as frequent as we would like, but you are our nectar and we feed from you. We are both butterflies, we need these important people around us to feel accepted, to flutter away our painful times.
Now, if only every parent could have friends that have drama degrees, wouldn’t life be so rosy?