I have had to face the thing that I did not want to do…ask for financial help. There is a sizeable streak of independent resourcefulness in me that is partly nature, partly nurture in origin. This characteristic has its benefits, being used on a daily basis as a single parent to two children with special needs.
Usually, if Pigeon or Parrot need any specialist equipment or clothing, I would either pay for it myself or accept what the NHS offer. I have become quite resourceful at saving up for things like the next size up of Parrot’s off-road wheelchair when he has had a growth spurt. I can usually take the basic equipment that is available on the NHS and make it look bright and exciting for Parrot. Sometimes, if desperate I will take my parents offer of a loan. But in the situation we find ourselves now, my independence is a hindrance.
Parrot needs a new bed, not just any bed though; he needs a bed that will keep him safe and stop him destroying the contents of his room, including the bed! The Urzone bed is an item that has to be self-funded somehow, but which special needs family has a spare £5,000 sat around? I don’t personally know of any!
Several charities were suggested by the lovely lady who works for the company supplying the bed. I plucked up the courage to fill in the forms. This made me feel like a failure as a parent, having to write that it is a struggle to keep my child safe. I thought DLA forms were hard to fill in from a ‘make me feel like a bad parent point of view’; it turns out that applying for charity funding is worse. (You may disagree, this is just my experience.) The charity with the most lengthy and detailed form, said straight away that we would be unlikely to get anything due to the strain that the pandemic had put on their fundraising activities; so glad I spent days filling that out whilst refereeing Pigeon and Parrot irritating each other! Another said they wouldn’t be having a meeting of trustees until March to discuss applications, so we await their decision. One we haven’t heard from yet. A ray of hope from a small charity – an offer of £1000 if we could raise the rest by June. Amazing, but that still left a short-fall of £4000.
Crowd-funding was suggested to me. Hmm, that means asking individuals for money, I really was not sure about that. I raised a small amount decluttering our house and selling those things on eBay to start our crowd-funding pot, but a small house doesn’t have enough spare items to yield £4000 from second hand sales! Our appeal can’t go out on social media or in the newspaper, as Parrot is an adopted child, which left us with asking people we know. Last night, I wrote a message on our staff messaging group asking for sponsorship for a couple of challenges that I am planning to do in January. That was really hard. My colleagues include my child’s teachers and teaching assistants and the majority of them have never seen the ‘dark side’ of Parrot that comes out when he feels safe and secure. After a while, there were some lovely messages and a few donations on his fundraising page. Encouraged, I sent the email containing a similar message to our church pastor for him to distribute to our fabulous church family.
The moral of the story? That it is ok to climb out of my comfort zone every once in a while and to stop worrying about what people think of me.
What could you do in 2021 that gets you out of your comfort zone?