A Bridge Too Far

Next week throws up for me another of the awful consequences of the input into our lives of Steven’s old social worker, Whistlers Mother.

Back in the summer of 2009 I was having some extensive dental work. I had several teeth removed in preparation for a bridge. It was taking ages, was painful and I became terribly self concious about the large gap in my mouth. And then Whistlers Mother delivered that shocking ultimatum that if we remained together in the family home, she would remove Steven from our care. No other options were on the table. End of our family.

I had to suddenly find two months deposit (£2.5k) for the shithole of a flat we ended up in and had to use the money I’d saved for the treatment to cover it. I was just about to start the treatment again in 2012 when Hillingdon stopped my housing benefit. Having to find the shortfall every month for a year so we didnt end up on the streets put paid to the bridge building for a second time.

On Monday, before the launch of #LBBill, we have a big meeting up in Whitehall. After the meeting, we are doing a broadcast outside the Department of Health. Cameras! Aaaagh! With the launch, there are likely to be a number of media engagements coming up and all trigger off a feeling of dread. I’m reasonably confident in what I’ve got to say but what I will look like, leaves me quaking. It may just be vanity but it matters to me.

In 2010, the first ever interview I gave whilst Steven was away was with Radio 4’s You & Yours. A radio programme, so nice and safe. After the interview, the producer led me to another room for an unplanned interview with BBC London News. TV! I must have looked like a second rate ventriloquist as I tried to do the whole interview without opening my mouth. As time has gone on, Ive got more used to it but I know the gap is there and everyone will see it.

Once the purchase of the flat goes through, I’ll have a bit of money left over and hope to start the dental work again. Five years after Whistlers Mother tore our life apart.

But look on the bright side. For an encore at the public engagements, I can give them a quick chorus of All I Want For Christmas Is My New Front Teeth.

My bite will be back……