The Nod...

The Nod… We all know the one right? The nod that SEN parents give one another? Ok, so It may not always be a nod, it may be a short smile or a catching one another’s eye line and just knowing.

The nod is something I have found comforting in the last nine years. Although I have never been so lonely, there is a comfort in seeing other parents and just knowing you are in fact not alone.

Walking into a waiting room ahead of an appointment that, let’s face it, can always go one way or another can be daunting and something I will never forget.

You attend on time, if not early. This is the first time you have ever been here, the receptionist is welcoming and asks you to take a seat and fill out the traffic light system form (it probably has a technical name but meh), she hands you a pen and clip board. I will never forget turning around to face the seating area and seeing parents all huddled up with their partners or children, trying desperately to keep themselves to themselves, all looking as nervous as I was. I took my seat, dan took his beside me and we huddled together with Delilah to fill out our form too. That was it, silence resumed, unless someone opened a door and shouted a families name to come through. Each time another family or parent came in I saw the look on their face, the same face I had earlier that day walking into that room. It is tough walking into any situation you are new to, one that you have never been in before and one you never expected to be in either. That was day 1. Now, I am exactly day 3175 and one thing I have discovered now walking into rooms, groups and wards is this nod or wry smile that us parents/carers give one another. It is our version of the good old “areet” nod that people up north give one another, or if you’re further down south I believe its more “alright” - to be fair I only have Micky Flanagan to go by (love him). It is an acknowledgement, it is acknowledging that you see that parent, you get it and understand.

It is the nod sometimes that say’s ‘I know how you feel’, when their face is a little drained, they look tired and lost.

It is the nod that can say ‘I see you, you are not alone’. It is the nod that can say ‘I see your child is in meltdown mode because you didn’t bring the right coat today - that was us last week’. It is the nod that says ‘I see your child is being a A - hole but if you shout around these people they will banish you to the deepest depths of hell because your child is disabled and YOU SHOULD NEVER shout at a disabled little cherub…but if only they knew!’. It is the nod in the waiting room that can tell someone “I have been there before, I get it”. It is the nod and smile that can simply say “there is no judgment here”, which every parent always wants to hear. It’s the small things in this world that can be the most comforting, a nod, a smile, a quick hello or you ok? Can change that visit. At the end of the day we have all been there, scared, nervous and a little lost. A nod can go a long way. You will find over the years that your SEND circle will grow, you will have acquaintances that although you may never really speak properly will become your SEN friends. You will chat in waiting rooms about nonsense, or Dr such and such has said you should try whatever and ask each other questions. Nothing in depth, you may never really know each other, but you will have a connection that could span a very long time… All because of a nod.

Tracey x

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