Monday, 17 November 2014

It's a girl!

I was so excited when our friends Karen and Dave announced that Karen was pregnant. Their two beautiful boys were eager to know whether they were going to have a baby brother or a baby sister.
When Karen got to the scan the baby was keeping it's legs firmly crossed. With two excited boys at home she couldn't leave without knowing. Karen had to dance to get the baby to move. But move it eventually did!
They bought a large balloon for the boys and asked me to take some photos. I love the older brother's reaction, his excitement that he was going to have a little sister, just like he wanted.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Why I hate this quote.

Do you ever see friends sharing a quote they love and find so inspiring but when you read it you feel worthless because of that quote?

There is one quote that I see popping up on Facebook frequently and the more I see it, the more I dislike it. 

'I firmly believe that the only disability in life is a bad attitude.' - Scott Hamilton 

I hate this quote. Hate is a strong word - I know. Yet, I still hate this quote. 

What irks me the most is when it is used by those who work closely with disabled people. I feel that they should know better.

I get that it's trying to inspire people to change their attitude. I see disabled people who overcome their disability and live life to the full and I agree that they should be looked up to for overcoming the difficulty that plagues them, but having a good attitude does not miraculously heal them of their disability. 

I am disabled. 
I have a chronic illness that sometimes leaves me bed-ridden. There are days when my muscles cannot physically support my body. 
Now according to the quote all I need is a good attitude, a better attitude and then my disability will go. Or rather, it is my attitude that prevents me from getting out of bed that morning when I try, and then fall to the floor. 
Now, I think I have a pretty good attitude when it comes to my illness/disability. If I have days stuck in bed I occupy myself with hobbies I can do. I have had several people tell me they had no idea that I had this disability, until they were told that I occasionally use a wheelchair or have received further insights from myself or close friends. I am not one to sit and mope and complain all the time. So according to the quote, because I have a good attitude I am not disabled, after all the only disability is a bad attitude. All other disabilities don't exist.

I am disabled. Having a good attitude doesn't change that I have this condition that, by its own definition, prevents me from doing something. It's disabling. Having a good attitude doesn't mean that it suddenly vanishes. In the same way that having a good attitude will make deaf people hear or a blind person able to see, or even enable someone to grow a limb.
Yes, disabled people can be and are inspiring. But this quote negates their disability. They are inspiring because they have overcome more than the "average" person. Having a good attitude is a part of that but the disability still exists. 

Saturday, 8 November 2014


November - the month for remembering.

'Remember, remember the fifth of November...'

Then on the eleventh we remember armistice day. The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month; that point in 1918 when a ceasefire was called on the Western Front and guns fell silent.

We remember those who sacrificed and gave their lives so we could have freedom.
We remember through the symbol of a poppy and a poem by Major John McCrae:

'In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.'

We remember those who died. 
In that war and every war since. 
Numbered among the dead was my great grandmother's brother. 

I remember going to France and Belgium. 
I remember walking through the muddy fields.
I remember the fields of white. 
White because of the headstones and crosses that marked where they fell.

On a recent trip to my parents, someone talked about remembering those that lived as well. This really resonated with me.
I remember an older gentleman at church. He was in a plane over Germany when they got into trouble. His role meant he parachuted out of the plane first, followed by the rest of his comrades. He jumped, and the plane exploded behind him before any of them could follow.
I remember his misty eyes as he talked about his experiences, the loss of his friends, the survivor's guilt.

I remember my Great Uncle who married the woman that nursed him back to health. He was released from a prisoner of war camp weighing only 6 stone. I remember their sacrifice, being unable to have children of their own because of the way he was treated.

I remember my Great Aunt Eva who fled from Prague. Her father (a Jewish diplomat) and her brothers were dragged out onto the street and shot. I remember her sacrificing her home, to flee to safety. I wonder how she must have felt on her wedding day when she married my Great Uncle, her Father not there to walk her down the aisle. 

I remember my Great Grandmother Lilian, who faced the loss of her brother and refused to face the loss of her son as well. Her actions potentially saved my Grandad and are the reason that I am here today. 

I remember my Grandad who served in the Second World War, who spoke of it like a holiday because he was based in the Bahamas for the majority of the war. He mentioned his role in releasing Prisoners of War in Germany to my Dad just once.

I remember those who lived through the experiences. 
Those that watched friends die. 
I remember those at home (many family members) who worked to support the men on the front. 
Those who sacrificed - their sons, their husbands, their brothers, their friends - and then lived with that for the rest of their lives, rarely talking about it because the feelings were too raw, the memories too vivid.