Missing. The last three weeks have been some of the best of my life. Since kicking my anxiety I have managed to slowly venture out more, further even and meet new people and see new things. The one thing I hadn’t been able to crack was getting Delilah to join in with my new found love of leaving the house. Until now… The last three weeks we have been on lots of little days out together, just me and her on some occasions… with me driving us without any fear of distance. I felt accomplished, like I’d really broken my mould I created all those years ago when anxiety took over my body and mind. We did it, we were doing it… I was doing it. But all good things are not without bad things. I have always said that good old saying of ‘if it wasn’t for bad luck, we’d have no luck’…

On Thursday night I had THEE worst three hours of my life. Period.

My son, Burt* had to be home for 7.30pm. He often has to be in this time and rarely gets to stay out til 8pm, he is only 13 after all. We were headed to South Lakes safari zoo yesterday morning so I was very keen to get him in, get them all bathed and tucked up in bed so I could commence organisation of our day out. This included the usual, ironing, bag packing, pic-nic making Martha Stewart kinda stuff… making a list and checking it three times over and still forgetting something vital as usual. It was 7.30pm and he hadn’t come in, this isn’t unusual for him though, he does this time to time but never later than 5/10 minutes maximum. Half an hour had passed and both Dan and I thought the usual “this kids taking the piss”… he never does this, bet he comes in and states “mam said I could stay out til 8”- which I didn’t, he will then tell me that his dad said it… this was kid stuff, this is being a teenager. By half past 8 dan was already searching all of the streets where he would usually hang out, his mates streets and surrounding areas. My mam came over to watch our other two and I went out to look too taking a separate car. By this point, I was beside myself. I was shaking, I was confused and becoming very upset. I’d only ever had these feelings before with Delilah, awaiting surgeries that have over ran or waiting for her to drift off to sleep when given general anaesthetic. Never with him, or with his older sister. This was it. I have to call the police. I headed home and met Dan there. We went out again, together this time after logging into his instagram and chatting to the friends he had previously been out with. We discovered he had gotten on to the metro heading out of the town centre… We headed to every station. It doesn’t make sense, why would he get on a metro? Why was he even in town?? I dropped him off in the afternoon in an estate not far from ours which was nowhere near the town centre… what on earth is going on?

At this point it wasn’t just us searching, I had friends out searching the streets, family members out look and a whole run of social media friends sharing to keep a look out for him. We headed home to meet the police. I sat for what felt like forever in our porch, sobbing my heart out, my mam sitting with my two girls so they didn’t see my face, my dad and brother at the door waiting something to happen, my friend trying and failing to console me and dan, pacing the house. This wasn’t real this wasn’t happening to us, this wasn’t my son. I won’t tell you the thoughts that went through my mind at this point, it was approaching 10.30pm and I was exhausted from crying, my nerves were shot to bits and I was starting to feel unable to breath due to the panic. All of a sudden my brother shouts “he’s here!” I looked up as he walked round the corner and ran to him. I held him with every ounce I could muster and wailed so loud, I cried my eyes out. I didn’t care what he had to say I was just so pleased he was home… He got a major shock and started to cry too. Within a split second dan joined us and everyone was a mess. We were soo glad he was home… Delilah broke down when seeing him, she wanted her brother more now than anytime EVER before. She loves her older siblings but likes them better a good couple of meters away from her. Not today though, nope… he had to be right next to her.

He had gotten on the metro with a friend who got off the next stop near his home, Burt* not knowing where he was going thought if he got off a few stops later he’d be closer to home. He was wrong, the metro goes nowhere near our home and he ended up in Newcastle, fortunately there is some good people left in the world that they told him where to go for a right bus and gave him the money to get home. It was just an accident, he was lost and a little scared, but not daft. Thank the lord! He was home, he is home and he is grounded for the foreseeable. My blog today, is to simply remind people that although we are parent carers, we are not JUST parent carers. We aren’t just parents to that particular child, we have other things going on all the time. At the moment we are struggling to get by in the six weeks holidays (actually 8 weeks for my kids), events and fun isn’t free and it is made more difficult when places don’t cater for your disabled child. Options become a smaller list when they aren’t taken into consideration and prices get a whole lot more expensive. Money is tight, more now than ever before. I have one child heading to college, one heading into year 9 and Delilah heading back into year 5. They all need uniforms and college student needs £125 worth of kit buying on top of a uniform.

They also need to be fed, like, 600 times a day… with biscuits, crisps and snacks and of course proper meals (before anyone jumps on me).

When my husband heads back to work on Monday he heads back as manager, this means more hours, more adjustments and more to contend with when it comes to the kids until they go back to school, and I have to do it alone. Once his hours come into effect, our benefits will be reduced and we will once again have to adjust our circumstances… it will be hard but it is soo worth it.

My life as a carer isn’t everything, there is much, much more to our struggle that is beyond our small SEND world. When you put things in perspective you are reminded of it, I’m not living for one child I am living for them all. I appreciate why when I am in certain groups and I say “I am just a mam” I receive a response of “Pfft! You are NOT JUST a mam! You are a carer!…blah blah blah”…. But i’m not just a carer either.

I am a MAM. I am a mam trying her best for ALL of her kids, who will one day be the death of her… but that is how it is supposed to be, right? Tracey x Burt* the nickname I gave my middle child, my son to firstly keep his identity as a teenager quiet and secondly cos it’s an embarrassing choice!

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