Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Bugaboo Blues





I remember the excitement of unpacking our bugaboo, of building it, of putting an old teddy bear into it and imagining ourselves out walking with our baby.  I remember the joy of taking our first born daughter Niamh for her first walk through the leafy green spring days that filled our suburb and the unconditional love that I felt as I gazed down at her sleeping peacefully.  I recall how quickly the months flew past and, before we knew it, we were walking to the park with Niamh by our sides, toddling along excitedly, as we pushed our new born daughter Eilidh in the same bright red bugaboo.



Now, nearly three years on, Eilidh is growing too big for our red bugaboo; it's time to say goodbye to our good friend -  you have served us faithfully,  but E has grown too tall for you.  I must applaud you, our dear bugaboo, for you have done everything that we have asked of you and never once complained.  It may seem absurd, but I truly adore you and will desperately miss you.


Dear bugaboo, you may never really understand why I am struggling to let you go, but let me try to explain.  For the last 18 months you have offered us normality, you have allowed us to walk anonymously amidst the crowds of people who do not know that our daughter is disabled.  Passersby see Eilidh, her huge smile and her cheekiness and think nothing more of her; she is accepted as a cute little girl in red bugaboo buggy - no questions asked.  They do not see her weak muscles or her inability to stand and walk.  They do not know that she may not survive into adulthood.  Passersby see a mummy and a daddy and two gorgeous curly-haired little girls: a perfect and happy family unit.  You protect us, bugaboo from their stares, their questioning looks, even their pity perhaps, and we can carry on our day to day in our little protected bubble.


So what happens next?  We'll say goodbye to our bugaboo and snappie will come out to play.  Snappie is red, too.  She's raw and edgy and really quite fast; she drives like a dream and can turn on a tuppence.  She shouts out "hey, look at me! amn't i great?", confidently drawing attention to herself, drawing attention to Eilidh, drawing attention to us...  People stop and stare, children gawp, mothers look at you with sadness (or is it pity?); we are no longer invisible, no longer anonymous and Eilidh is suddenly disabled by all who see her.  We feel all eyes upon us, but we lift our heads high and smile: a perfectly imperfect family perhaps, brave and fearless on the outside, but struggling with acceptance on the inside.  So, sorry, snappie, cool as you are, I don't like you!  You make us face up to the stark truth, the harsh reality that Eilidh cannot and will not ever walk and, if that is not enough, you shout it out to all and sundry... and, crikey it hurts, it still hurts so very much.







So what is the problem?  Why do I feel so blue about saying goodbye to the bugaboo?  Well it's all about acceptance, isn't it?  Since Eilidh's diagnosis there have been times of acceptance, fleeting or prolonged, followed quickly by denial and anger.  Each new piece of equipment has brought challenges and has questioned our acceptance; we need to feel comfortable with snappie before we accept her and come to terms with the finality of all that SMA brings.  The thing is, Eilidh is already comfortable with snappie, she already accepts her as her own because she know no different; she doesn't see passersby looking at her, she is just herself. Eilidh won't miss bugaboo, she will instead revel in the freedom and independence that snappie brings and they will drive off into the distance on adventures galore.  And me?  I'll be guided by Eilidh - she is the one teaching me about life - and though our lives have been turned upside down, I will find acceptance and my grieving for the loss of our dear bugaboo will ease. 


Goodbye, dear bugaboo, goodbye...

3 comments:

LittleMamma said...

I can relate to your post so much. When the standing frame arrived at our house, I felt sick. We're moving on to a 'special needs' buggy which if I bling it up a bit, I am hoping won't look too special-needsy. H has an NG tube which marks him out as different, before that no-one could really tell. Not unless you looked closely or tried to interact with him. I hate that look of pity, but its worse if they look away. Thanks for your honest post. I found you on loveallblogs and have followed you on twitter now too. Look forward to reading more in the future and catching up on the past posts I have missed. Your daughter is a lovely curly haired cutie by the way. xx

ever hopeful mummy said...

hey, thanks for popping by - the LAB schowcase is an amazing way to meet new people and crikey i've been humbled by the quality of the posts...

Deb at aspie in the family said...

Hi, I've found you through Love All Blogs and am following you on Twitter. Just like to say what a beautifully written post and I look forward to more of your posts. Deb