Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Scope Face 2 Face Befrienders




My daughter now, as a model..
We have all had some challenging times, right? As for me, it was when we first moved to London. The move happened very fast and I didn’t have much time to prepare the family.  My daughter was 3 and a half years old and she couldn’t speak a word of English. In London, she basically didn’t say anything for the best part of six weeks and was communicating with her Australian nanny by showing pictures of what she needed on a book. She had nightmares every night and I still remember her terrified shouts. To make matters even worse, the French Lycee didn’t take her. I felt badly let down. You keep hearing that kids can learn a foreign language just like that, but, from my experience, it is a load of rubbish. At her local British school, she was just sitting in a corner, crying. Lovely. I remember wanting to take the first Eurostar back to Paris.

I don’t think that I could have coped without the support of the other mums at the (British) nursery. It is fair to say that they took me under their wing and reassured me. One was Portuguese and had been through a similar process herself, when she was 8, which must have been much harder. The others were just incredibly supportive, inviting us for play dates after school and sharing a glass of wine with me while my daughter was playing on her own and in total silence. I remember one in particular, A., who was always reassuring me. And she was right. Eventually, my daughter started to say a few words, then sentences, and after a few months we couldn’t stop her (Actually, we still can’t, she speaks all the time, in French or in English, and she is 13 now).

What goes around comes around. When, a couple of years later, A. eventually moved to France, her 7-year-old son couldn’t speak a word of French and had a really hard time. One day, she called me in tears. As her son wasn’t speaking, one of the teachers had asked her whether he was a bit ‘retarded’. This was the French way of dealing with a little boy who was struggling to speak French. Don’t ask. I did my best to reassure her, reminding her of my daughter.  We laughed at all the happy memories (and white wine) we had shared. Her son is now bilingual, but it was a lot more difficult than anticipated.

What is my point here? Well, from time to time, we need support, and a friend who can help, or is just here to listen, can make all the difference. There is nothing like knowing you are not alone. There is nothing like knowing there are others just like you, and that they have had to overcome the same hurdles. This is why, when I was contacted to support the Face 2 Face Befrienders Scheme, I decide to do my best to help them, despite my back of knowledge regarding kids with disabilities. Scope obviously deals with much more difficult issues than mine, but don't you think that there is enough nastiness in this world and, sometimes, all you need is a friend in your corner. Check out their campaign here.

18 comments:

  1. So true and a great idea.

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  2. I think this is a great program and that you are involved in it. I couldn't agree more with you that some times, all we need is the knowledge that we are not alone. That knowledge is empowering and helps us to push on instead of be enveloped in a sense of hopelessness. When I had a miscarriage, what comforted me most were the stories of other parents who went through the same. They didn't have to call or be with me physically. All they did was share their stories and say, "You are not alone". Those are four powerful words that should never be underestimated.

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  3. Lovely message - completely agree. It helps to have kindred souls.

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  4. Goodness, poor babies to go through such a rough process. And poor mommies. I know that we all need a support system or two. I am glad you are going to help some special kids. I have worked with them and they are wonderful for the most part. No kid is always wonderful. Your daughter's picture is incredible.

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  5. Networking- no matter what you call it- it's a vital function for us all. And, you just proved it!

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  6. Suerae Stein18 July 2013 14:02

    Sounds like a wonderful program. It is so important to reach out for help and support when needed. Many people try to keep their struggles to themselves and end up feeling very isolated and alone. People can't help and support if they don't know you need it. So it is great that you and your friends looked to each other for that support!

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  7. Carolina HeartStrings18 July 2013 16:07

    What a wonderful organization and kudos to you for your support. Having someone care, even if they don't fully understand nuances, is amazing. Besides, on many levels you don't have to be a parent of a special needs child to understand. The adjustments your young child had to make also makes me think about how challenging Europe is with it's diverse cultures and languages that we don't have to contend with here.

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  8. Good for you!

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  9. Thanks! I am indeed very glad that they found me...

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  10. I think that having someone who understands what to expect can make a huge difference. As for Europe, the language barriers can be challenging indeed!

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  11. Thanks for your support! And you are right: having a group of support to help makes a huge difference!

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  12. Networking is indeed vital. That said, in this instance it was a lot more than networking. It felt more like supporting!

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  13. My daughter is indeed very beautiful and I am a proud mummy! Kudos to you for having worked with special needs kids. I am not sure that I would have the courage to do it.

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  14. It does indeed! And there is enough nastiness in this word, right?

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  15. That's very true. To make matters even worse, a miscarriage is often a taboo. I had one too and the only words of comfort I had from my own mother was 'this doesn't happen in our family'. How lovely. Just like you, I found other mums who had been through the same, and it helped.

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  16. Glad you like it Thom!

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  17. You are so right, there are times when we don't need to feel unique and different, but that there are others who feel and think as we do. It makes the world more bearable.

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  18. It does, doesn't it? A friend can make all the difference!

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