Why I’m helping the PTA


People chuckle and tell me I am good for getting involved. They may surreptitiously raise an eyebrow at my keenness to join the PTA and help with this event or that event. I mean my son’s only been at the school five minutes and here I am helping with the raffle, helping with the bonfire, helping with the committee, attending every PTA meeting so far this term.

But honestly, and though I tell people it is, none of this is for me. All of this raises money for the school. And the truth is I, we, owe the school so much. Oscar’s Autism meant deciding where to send him to school, was one of the most stressful decisions I’ve ever had to make. But so far, I’ve yet to be proved that the mainstream school we chose was the wrong decision.

The school are due so much more than I can ever give them. In just this term alone, Oscar’s speech and behaviour and understanding and capacity has out and out exploded. And that’s not something I’ve done. Not something I could have ever done on my own. It’s a mixture of everything they’ve done for him and with him. Their patience, their insistence that he be included.

Yes I get involved. Yes I do my bit. Yes I raise funds. Yes I give back.

But no matter how much I do, or raise, or give to the school, it could never be as much. Not nearly as much…

As they have done for us.


A breath of sadness

NB: Sorry for the deep and potentially upsetting nature of this post, but when something touches me, no matter how lightly, this is where I come to work it out.


Life. Its short right. We get that. Or do we? It’s here and then, some time or another, it’s gone. We don’t know when. We none of us know how long we’ve got. To live. To love.

From a young age I’ve been firm of the opinion that there is no going before your time. That the concept is a misnomer, because if you go, then it is your time. I’ve never been afraid of leaving the party early, as I was so sure that there was no such thing.

Since becoming a mother it’s harder to be so sure of my once strongly held beliefs. Motherhood challenges everything about you, both physically and cerebrally. It makes you question your very core. And that’s wonderful. It takes you to places you’d never go otherwise (and I’m not just talking about soft play or gymboree classes). It makes you look at everything you ever thought was good and true in a different way, from a different angle and ask again, is this right?

Is it right that so many of my friends (and not, I am thankful beyond measure, me) have gone through the pain of miscarriage? Can a 10 week old baby, who passes due to no discernible cause, be leaving because it is their time? Really? Suddenly the bravado of my youth seems crass and naive. Suddenly I feel like I am being pulled up by the headmaster and asked to answer the question again. I feel shamed.

These are the darker sides of parenthood that are only whispered about, skipped over and hoped, for everything that your worth, you never have to experience. No mother, or father, should be the one to bury their child. ‘Should’ is a funny word though. It has a habit of contradicting itself, because parents do have to bury their children. Every day. The pain is real, for so many and I can’t begin to image that this is how it’s meant to be. That this is right.

In order to carry on, to make the most of the time we do have, I find it easier to push these thoughts away. It’s easier not to consider these questions too much. Because if I did, the sadness would fill up my very being and stop me in my tracks. Like it did last Thursday.

So here’s to all the parents who have loved and lost. I’m so so sorry for your loss.

But I’m so so grateful it’s not my own.