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Paddle Boards & Cheryl Cole

September 5, 2017

Another of those odd trips down memory lane.

It was only yesterday that I wrote a post about the latest sign of Steven spreading his wings and wanting me less.

Today I’ve come up to Cleethorpes. Tomorrow I’m delivering the Get Steven Home talk to a group of social care professionals from North Lincs.

Cleethorpes was the place we took Steven to on day three of our introduction week prior to his adoption. The day, back in 1995 was going swimmingly. We’d been on the beach, had a fish and chip lunch, the full seaside business. After lunch we went to a place with a ball pool, which Steven always loved. Upon leaving the pool, Steven excitedly started tearing around the room and went smack, head first into a slot machine. He actually catapulted backwards. Trying to comfort him, both Julie and I were hit by the thought – “Fuck! We’re meant to be showing that we’re ideal parents and we’re taking him back to the foster home with serious concussion”. I ended up carrying Steven for a couple of hours and then he threw up all over my back and was as right as rain after that.

I wrote about the compilation tapes yesterday and that memory often comes up when we play the Girls Aloud song:

“I’m just a game machine (at Cleethorpes)”.

Tying in with the talk tomorrow, I remember us coming back to Cleethorpes on the last day of introduction week. The social worker had meetings to attend in the morning but said she’d pick us up at the pier at noon and drive us back to London. Her last words to Steven as we drove off were:

“Right Steven. Let’s get you to your new home”.

I’m typing this post whilst sitting on the prom and staring out to sea. I’ve been sitting in the same spot since 6 o’clock. It’s now 7.45pm. Two guys have been paddle boarding since I sat down and I’m finding them totally compelling. I’m hypnotised by them and can’t move. I might still be here at midnight.

For a split second, I thought I saw several dead aunts and uncles emerge from the sea, wave and disappear again.

These regular reminders of the past that I’ve been getting this year don’t feel, as someone suggested, like tying up loose ends. To be honest, there never felt like ends that needed tying. But it feels like something significant is happening.

At one point, I got up and brought myself an ice cream. When I returned to my bench, I couldn’t immediately spot the paddle boarders. And then a thought hit me. Everytime I go away on one of these talks, at some point during the visit, I’d think of Steven being here, perhaps enjoying the hotel cooked breakfast, or swimming in the hotel pool. Today, I hadn’t had any of those thoughts.

I’m here on my own, thinking about Cheryl Cole whilst watching the height of athletic prowess out at sea.

And it feels more than okay.

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4 Comments
  1. charm permalink

    Hey, I want to tell you something…it’s normal. My son is 32 in Jan next year and it’s normal for people with autism & learning disabilities to ‘tell us in their own way’ they are a man now and we have to face ‘rejection’ as in ‘not needed as much’. It happened with my son at around 25. It bloody hurts but it’s not a bad thing Mark because one day we will not be there for them and that’s more of a fact than anything else. You will ‘go through’ the grieving process over this but once through it, you will realise it’s a very normal cycle just like adult kids also do to ‘be who they are’. Don’t beat yourself up over it 🙂

    • Hi charm. I’m not beating myself up at all. I think the last paragraph shows that I’m starting to adapt to the new status quo. Mark.

      • charm permalink

        Yes, that shows Mark and it’s exactly what you need to do. I think you’re doing it right:)

  2. shirley buckley permalink

    Hi Mark I think you are doing it much better than right. You are seeing the rewards of your relationship with Steven – he is flourishing – what more could you ask for. Nothing can ever destroy what you have given him. And you have managed to involve all your readers in the process too.

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