[Before I begin this post… you might have seen that a reader contacted me to ask why her comments had disappeared. I concluded they must have come into the sp** folder and been deleted, and I promised to sift through the sp** for legit comments. Well, whereas I had been receiving about 30 a day into said folder, since that post I have been receiving over 200 a day! 260 just last night. I’ve since deleted that short post. Until things calm down again, as I hope they will, it’s a physical impossibility for me to sift through them all. Some of them are a page long. So if you have been leaving comments and they are not appearing, please try again and perhaps also contact me. My email address is on the sidebar.]
Spring is here! I was thrilled to pieces to see a blossoming tree the other day:
That was the first tree in blossom I’d seen this year, and in the last few days there have been a few more. The weather has begun to be less wintry, but the swans in the park are still sheltering, and hungry:
They were so agitated it was difficult to count them, but I think there were at least 25 that morning.
Here at our house it has been stressful, for a few reasons as I wrote earlier, but one massive source of stress has now been resolved. The Dafter, who is still trying to recover from her bad relapse that began after Christmas, was struggling mightily to get to school (averaging about two classes a week, with difficulty) and is still hardly able to read and write. She has been having such terrible brain fog that on her best days she can only concentrate for about 15 minutes, and on many days, remembering and learning concepts and words has been impossible. Knowing that she would have to sit an hour-and-a-half-long exam soon was giving us all the feeling of running after a train that is inexorably moving further and further away.
So she has made the difficult but very wise decision to defer her Higher Art by a year.
Luckily, her Head of Year was understanding and granted her request. Her art teacher was less so, and hasn’t been able to believe that she is really struggling. I asked the Dafter, “Did you explain to her?” She said, “No. I’m happy to have confrontations with kids my own age, but not with authority figures. But I’m the one who has to live in my body and suffer the consequences if I overdo things – not my Art teacher!” I could only give her a big hug and tell her how very proud I am of her.
So on Friday we were all home at the time of the solar eclipse! I remember the last one, in 1999; we were on the Isle of Harris and it was a clear sky. I took the children to walk near the beach and the light became very, very odd indeed. If you put your hand out, there was no shadow. This time the sky in Glasgow was cloudy. But we went outside to experience it anyway. And it was definitely odd – darker, as when the rain is coming on, but with a different cast to the darkness somehow. Tilly was very excitably running about, and the birds seemed to be a bit nervous:
We didn’t have special glasses, but at one point when we were wondering where the sun was located behind the clouds, they suddenly parted and we saw what looked like a crescent moon before it was gone again and we hastily looked away. Dancing Beastie posted some beautiful photos of the eclipse from further north of us, in this post.
We wandered about a bit, just experiencing the strangeness; we went into the house, which was really dark, and came outside again to feel the difference. And we took a photo of ourselves to mark the occasion. On the news they’d been saying the next total solar eclipse here will be in 2090, and we talked about how we hope the Dafter will be around to see it – do you know the Mary Chapin Carpenter song Halley Came to Jackson? I felt the same sense of blessing our children’s futures from this moment in time.
Not only was there an eclipse of the sun on Friday, but it was the new moon and also the Vernal Equinox. A good time for new beginnings, don’t you think?
I know that the Dafter will continue to recover and heal. It just takes time, and sometimes so much more time than you would imagine. I was recently thinking back to when she had been ill for only (!) a year. The hospital tutor came to the house and the Dafter was only able to do a bit of colour matching, and after 10 minutes sitting in the chair she was collapsing off the side. This went on weekly for about six weeks, and then the tutor said to us all, “She isn’t really trying, and she’s just too cosy at home.” This was devastating to the Dafter, as you can imagine. And it was not to be the last time that she encountered professionals whose ignorance of ME/CFS was very damaging.
These days the Dafter is still very unwell, but she has come such a long ways since then. She gets to school for a few lessons a week, and she likes going to school. She is able to draw and paint once again. She’s made friends there. And although she is still struggling to read and write, she is learning other, very important, lessons: taking care of herself, standing up for herself, speaking her truth even in the face of disbelief. The Head of Year said a nice thing: “She is using the system to her advantage”. Until then I had felt really frustrated at the limitations of the UK exam system – either this spring, or next. But that was a very nice way of putting it.
So, on we go!