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  • Enza Smith MBE

Face in the crowd by Fran

I was once just a face in the crowd, keeping life ticking over, running the house and supervising the children from infancy through to adulthood, helping them achieve their full potential, respect, good manners, the ability to empathise and to love life. One by one they flew the nest until only one remained. I felt the pressures of life lifting away and the tide was turning to me time and the passage of self-discovery. If I woke in the morning and decided to make a cuppa and take it back to my bedroom and snuggle under the duvet for another hour or so, then I did just that. Or if I woke with an urge to go somewhere I just went, I was becoming me again, I would always be a mum but the responsibility that cams with it gradually diminished as the children became more independent and self sufficient.

Just as I was becoming me my personal identity became skewered and eroded away as circumstances began to alter my perspective. A child was in need and I was put forward to meet that need. My whole life was invaded, they called it a comprehensive assessment-a fancy name for ‘tip your history into this bag, give it a shake and see what explodes’! social workers who didn’t look old enough to be out of their playpen, never mind run about unsupervised in society, looked over the top of their designer glasses (as I thought how much of your student loan was used for those love, you were robbed, you could have got 2 for 1 at Tesco’s!) and say stupid things like ‘so you were potty trained on such and such a date, how did you feel about that’ (I lie the questions weren’t that precise but were very intrusive) whilst I said ‘would you like a cup of tea?’ because we all know tea solves every problem! Their questions, expectations, demoralising attitude, raised eyebrows, home invasion, stuffiness and sometimes down right rudeness made me question who I was, my upbringing, how I was parented and how I went onto parent. Yes, these peep squeaks have a job to do, but I think some take it to the extreme as they try hard to get that bead of sweat to sit on my forehead. But if I can survive the interrogation without suffering PTSD then I am armed with the strength and ability to face the challenges and pitfalls of becoming the carer for the child in need.

So now my little person is living with me full time, goodbye tidy house and adult niceties and hello toys and the dreaded foot shredding Lego. Goodbye savings and hello tighten the purse strings. Goodbye silence and relaxation and hello giggles, snots, cuddles, tears, tantrums, dirty hand prints and lots of things in between that ensures I fall into bed every night tired and ready for sleep.

So who am I? Well I now know I wasn’t the person enjoying the life of selfishness and relaxation, let’s face it it gets a bit boring after a while! People comment ‘bless you for rescuing the child’ but in all honestly I think the child rescued me from an unfocused future where I would have just floated through life, they have grounded me in the present and helped me reflect on who I am and what my role is in life. No two days are the same, problems need solving, patience needs to be in the zenith power and I have found an unknown courage and determination to stand tall with the child, to help them sprout and grow, reaching their full potential and beyond, to help them gain acceptance of who they are and help them understand their lives. So who am I? I am me the face in the crowd.

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