Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Marching for Special Needs support, grrr

Raising a child with special needs is a political act. I like politics generally, although the past few years  my insatiable appetite for news has found me switching the radio to the classical station and reacquainting myself with old CDs, this week I am loving Joan Baez's Play Me Backwards. For the first time in my life I am disgusted with politicians on both sides of the Atlantic. I used to think highly of quite a few politicians. Imagine that.

We joined a nationwide march in support of Special Needs Assistants. We marched from the cathedral to Eyre square. Lily carried a small sign: Support me now so I can support myself soon. A long legged photographer from the Irish Independent took a few photographs of her and a reporter interviewed her. Yes, Lily said, I need some help at school. Yes, I would like to go to University. When I grow up I would like to be a poetry, like my Mom.

She already is poetry.

And I am still fuming. I can only think of two places where parents of children with special needs don't have to fight, constantly, for simple things. Sweden and New Zealand. |Or so I've read, I hope it is true.

The march was sweet. Too damned sweet. It was appropriately solemn. Galway was dead quiet at 6 p.m., bad timing for a march. There was no loudmouthed politician, priest, poet to rouse the small crowd. Most of young children with Down syndrome don't like loud noise, so that may have been okay. No visible outrage except for the steam coming out of my ears.

 Lily was the oldest Trisomy 21 protester. I think she will be okay, she has determination, an interest in many things, loves books and has a pissed off Mom. My heart was breaking for the younger ones. Baby Patrick in his buggy sucking his dummy the way Maggie Simpson does. Another little man in a buggy with a feeding tube. Our gorgeous 3rd class neighbor who looked smashing in her Ballinderreen National School uniform and stylish glasses. If these children get proper educational support, and I mean support that challenges and pushes as well as loves--they will grow to be independent adults able to work and live in any community.

Solemnity drove home with us until I yelled at Lily for picking her nose. Use the *xx@£ tissue. The finger mined deeper. Don't yell at me, she said. I'm fragile.

Don't play me backwards. Give me a tissue too. Supposedly the bill to cut SNA's hours was reversed yesterday, but the march went on because us parents trust this government about as much as a polar bear trusts the wacky heatwave currently, and unnaturally, baking Alaska.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

a musing view: circus no worry zones

The Circus Corvinni came to Ballinderreen and took me away from Father's Day, away from my heart breaking for the children of Syria and all the children of the world who so deserve two hours of joy plus a huge dose of being mended.Circus Corvinni is one family from Westmeath, all muscled, balanced, amusing, gorgeous, musical and together. Their respect for each other and their ancient art of entertainment lifted us. A baby with a mop of blonde curls slept on his mother's lap and spread his dimpled hand and tiny feet over to my lap, I could feel the heat of his slumber and the bouncy excitedness from Lily who is hoarse from all her woo-woos.

We are so lucky to have a circus across the field from our house. So lucky to have met a few people from the parish I'd never seen before. So lucky to rest assured that some troubled asshole with a gun was not there, in this land where most Guards are still unarmed.

I think we should get circus tents, bring them to war-zones and refugee camps, fill them with wonderful music, lentil soup, acrobats, storytellers, musicians, a few bathtubs, maybe some cuddly dogs. Circus no worry zones.

Welcome to my first blog post. The old name of my Peninsula Clarion column (thank you Bonny Headley) from life-times ago has been resurrected. I will write about writing memoir, poetry, Lily, Down syndrome, single parenthood late in life, and literary snippets from writer's I admire.