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Thursday, 28 October 2010

Feeling a bit helpless

I have flights booked to go to England on 20th November.  The intention was literally a flying visit...to stay for just one week.  But I miss my daughter and Billy so much, a week is better than nothing at all.  I haven't seen them since May and it seems such a long time.

My daughter has so much on her plate at the moment, and it's at times like this that I wish I lived closer and was able to do more to help.

Before she had Billy she worked as manager of a Montessori School.  She loved her work.  She loves children and I've never known such a "natural".  She has so much patience...I've no idea where this comes from.  Not me I'm sure.  I could never have found the stamina to work with young children.

After she had Billy, she decided to become a registered Childminder so that she could work at home.  She, like many young mums still has to work.  One salary these days is just not enough to survive for many couples.  She has always been adamant that she didn't want to put Billy into a day nursery...she has some experience of them and wasn't impressed, and certainly wouldn't have been happy to place Billy in that environment.

Becoming a childminder these days is a lengthy and thorough process.  I remember years ago having a couple of friends who were registered childminders.  All that was necessary at that time was for someone to come out and check that your house was safe, gather a couple of references, and that was more or less that.
Times have changed, and we have thankfully learned that children can be at risk, and that anyone caring for them on a professional basis has to be thoroughly checked out.

She attended a course every week for a couple of months.  Childminders are now registered by Ofsted so the environment in which they are cared for has to be absolutely safe.  So there were many visits to her flat to check it out, and of course she had to have police checks too.  The whole process takes about 6 months and finally she was up and running.  She was already collecting two boys (sons of a friend) from school each day and taking them to their home along with Billy, looking after them until their mother and father returned from work at around 6pm.  These two are now officially being "childminded" in my daughter's home, after she collects them from school each day.  She also has another pre-school child who attends nursery school three mornings a week, and she collects him and looks after him for the rest of the day.

It's a hell of a job for her.  They live in a top floor flat with lots of stairs and no lift.  She's pregnant with her second child, and she's up and down stairs all day with Billy and her mindees.  This week is half term and she has all of them full time.

Last Friday she received a call from the housing association offering them a house.  She had to view it on Monday (the first day of half term!) and they had to make an immediate decision, and be prepared to move within two weeks, or the house would be offered to the next person on the list.  Of course they have accepted the offer.  Not only does this remove all the stress of the stairs, but it has a garden and is also very close to Billy's paternal grandparents, who are a tremendous help to them.  Naturally there is very little she can  do this week and my son-in-law is unable to take any time of work this month.  They will have the keys on Friday and will spend the weekend making Billy's room habitable...the only one that needs some work...and then they will move the following weekend.

My daughter and Billy have both been poorly this past week and are both on antibiotics.  My daughter was so bad that she spent the day in bed on Sunday...most unusual for her.

So as I said...she has an awful lot on her plate just now.  I spent yesterday trying to change my flights, to see if I could go over sooner, ie within the next two weeks.  No chance...there's nothing before the flight I already have booked for 20th November.  It's so frustrating.  I have time to spare and could be of much more use there than here.

However, I did manage to change my return flight to extend my stay by another week.  So I will be there for two weeks rather than one.  Maybe she will still have jobs that need doing then and I'll tell her to make a list for me!

Anyone who lives far away from their grown-up children and grandchildren will I know understand this feeling of helplessness that I'm now experiencing.  You just want to be there for them whenever they need you and it's awful when you can't.

14 comments:

  1. Of course you want to be there, knowing how much help you could be giving your daughter....but there'll still be plenty to do when you do get there and you've managed to extend your visit too.
    Billy will be so pleased to see you 'in the flesh' as it were, too!
    Lovely news about the house with a garden, so much better for Billy and the new arrival once it arrives!

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  2. Oh Ayak tell me about it! What a shame that you can't change your flight to bring it nearer, but I'm sure that you will be a tremendous help to your daughter when you do get there. There are bound to be lots of things that you can do to help.

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  3. you will be a great help for your daughter - you describe her as a fighter and the mere idea of you being with her must be an incentive, I'm sure. Enjoy your time in London!

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  4. It is too bad you can't live closer, but I am glad you get to spend an extra week with them.

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  5. Thanks everyone for your kind and reassuring words. I'm sure there will still be plenty I can do to help when I get there. Roll on 20th November!

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  6. I suppose she'll have to have the new house rechecked, reregistered, reeverythinged. she'll have you doing her emergency plans and sticking foam on all the corners!

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  7. Kelloggsville: Yes of course the new house will have to be re-registered. Goodness knows how she will fit that in during the move, because she can't stop childminding while she waits for it to be done. Apart from her commitment to the parents, she couldn't afford to not be working!

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  8. The time til u go will fly by now and like everyone else has said Stella will have plenty for you to help her with when you get there I am sure and Billy will just love seeing you xx

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  9. Bomb: I hope so! He's only seen me on a laptop screen for 6 months..hope he will know its me!

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  10. I'm so pleased about the house. I am sure you will help her just being there for the week.
    Being a child minder these days is filled with red tape. My daughter does it too.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

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  11. It's tough. I live oceans away from family: both mine and my husband's. I know it's tough on my Mom when I'm having a rough time and there is no one to help. I feel your pain. You'll be here soon and able to help then. Keep us posted. I hope the move goes well for your daughter and family.

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  12. 'Cross the Pond: Thanks...it is difficult isn't it?

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  13. Well, you'll be meeting soon. You know Ayak, we women have a lot of inner strength and that sees us through many difficulties. Sending both of you positive thoughts at this time.

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