Comic Relief is a funny thing, pardon the unintentional pun. It resonates with so many people and is probably the first significant charity fundraising event that a lot of children experience. I remember the first red nose day when I was a teenager.
Sharing fun and high jinx and camaraderie with friends, teachers, parents, neighbours… All good. Especially as it’s not for any specific cause.
I’m touched that my Just Giving page was still receiving donations yesterday when I assumed the whole country would be watching Dermot O’Leary shaking his thang.
I totally understand why a lot of people raise money for the cause that has personally affected them – look at me – but that’s like a form of selfishness too.
Comic Relief is great because a whole bundle of different people benefit, and as a donor, you can’t influence who your money goes to. I think it teaches us to just do something because it’s the right thing to do. That’s also how I justify my addiction to lottery tickets.
Some special needs parents develop a darker sense of humour, probably partly as a coping mechanism. Sometimes I laugh at my daughter and the incredible situations we get into.
Not with, at. Not to her face of course, I am not a jerk.
But I snigger by myself or with my husband about things sometimes.
You try taking a kid who hasn’t had their hair brushed in days, who is wearing a sundress made out of two muslin (baby sick-up) cloth squares like a weird toga, in November, with flip-flops, showing really long uncut dirt-filled toenails, who is howling like a wolf and scampering like a rat and scowling at everyone around a nice suburban Waitrose store and act like nothing is happening.
So later on when she’s not aware I let out a load of nervous guilty laughter. Bite me.
I don’t get to giggle with friends though, unless they have special needs kids too. Parents of neurotypical kids are always joking with each other about the shit their kids get up to, so you try to join in, but then they are usually aghast when you crack a joke about your kid’s problems. Awkward silence. I suppose it must be hard for them to know if it’s really OK to laugh along too… and maybe it isn’t. I don’t know.
So as I’ve said, this week has been profound. Exhausting. Revelationary. The thing that has had the biggest effect on me? Well.
The other day daughter and I had a serious chat, she initiated it. Since she had this sort-of breakdown back at the start of December, she has been slowly opening up more about how she feels. Some of it is harrowing to hear. Some of it is heartening.
I was calm on the surface but starting to crack inside as she said she needed to tell me about one of the things that she finds most embarrassing about her life…
…having a Mummy with wonky eyes.
Now, I do not have permanent home and away eyes. One of my eyes just wanders off when I am tired. Sometimes. Or so I believed.
But apparently no. Apparently it is excruciatingly embarrassing whenever we go out, for example, to the supermarket (yep, that is what semi-naked-wolf-girl said).
She said she loves me very much but it is really awful sometimes having a Mum who looks like a hammerhead shark.