I recall in a recent post I referred to the struggles of our eldest daughter and her ever willing attitude to help us as an additional carer to Matthew, a stance she still adopts and seems to take pride in.
Since we first found out about the young carers groups late last year we have attempted to get our daughter to attend but with little success, often painfully shy and fearful of the unknown she went from interested to unsure to point blank no and back again on a weekly basis.
Certain of the positive results that the groups would offer her, we constantly gave her positive vibes about the groups along with subtle encouragement to get her through the door for the first time. However with a busy schedule and her reluctance we put it on the backburner over Christmas and in the early part of New Year.
Eventually I decided to take the bull by the horns, came home from work early last Thursday and suggested I took her down there and we had a look at the fortnightly music sessions they held.
I was met with stubbornness, defiance and tears, disappointed at the wasted afternoon I resigned myself to try again another day as she came down from her room dressed in her pyjamas rather than the change of clothes I had expected. She explained that she didn’t see why she needed to go for time out away from Matthew, she enjoyed doing her bit and that was that. Very admirable I must admit, but this was for her benefit and I didn’t want to let it go.
After much persuasion and a cast iron guarantee that I would not leave the building and that she could leave at any time she finally agreed to go, step one accomplished!
Step two, getting her out of the car and inside was surprisingly easy, holding my hand tight and as quiet as a mouse we were met by staff who immediately made her feel at ease. Highlighting how incredible she was for all she does at home the carers trust worker immediately brought a shy but visible smile to her face, step 3 accomplished.
Step four, getting her to get involved was instant, already possessing a passion for music, especially the guitar she quickly settled and was absorbed at learning new chords and the shy smile got bigger.
When she went to another room and was greeted by another staff member (again with a guitar) and invited to sit down and join in a sing song, she was in awe as she listed to her favourite Taylor Swift and Little Mix songs be sung in front of her, she even began to join albeit ever so quietly.
Next was a drum kit, going from a few nervous taps to full on Reni (Stone Roses) wannabe in a matter of minutes, she made me proud and I hoped that she was enjoying it as much as I was and that her smile was genuine and not forced, it was definitely the former.
As the session ended she was shown the room with the DJ decks where she could mix music and make her very own song, she pleaded that she be allowed to have a go, much to her disappointment that has to be reserved for the next session, but it gives her something to look forward to and a reason to go back.
Leaving the centre I felt relieved and proud as she told me that she couldn’t wait until next time, mission accomplished!
Hopefully it was the first step along the line for her to a support network that can help her in years to come, new friends and the opportunity to practice the musical instruments she loves so that she gets her own time and escape. Her practice on the guitar is usually comically interrupted my Matthew and his sensory desire for the noise it makes and the need to touch it.
Fingers crossed the carers trust groups will provide her with a much needed diversion away from the day to day life at home, she deserves it and that she will increase in confidence with every session, one thing is for sure is that the young carers groups really are invaluable resource that we are incredibly grateful to have access to.