It was half term and we wanted a family day out. Stumbling upon some pictures of boat-bound illuminations on the internet, we simply couldn't resist, and so we all headed out to Matlock Bath. A cold day beckoned waiting for the darkness necessary for the illumination parade down the river. We planned a tour of the mines to fill out the day only to find them closed when we arrived. So we headed into the mine museum instead, a museum complete with climbing tunnels built into its walls. The hysterical thing was my kids didn't even realise they were not in the real mines.
They played with pulleys and found tiny mouse holes to gaze into, they controlled diggers and climbed ladders inside walls that Mummy couldn't even begin to attempt.
And Tilly, well she had one go at the climbing and decided it wasn't for her. She wanted the gift shop and the gift shop only...oh and ice-cream! So Mummy had the unenviable job of keeping a 6 year old with SMS amused in a tiny gift shop for well over an hour while the other kids crawled around inside walls with Daddy!
Riverside walks and playing at the park became the next order of the day. River banks strewn with fair ground rides preparing for the night-time festivities our backdrop. Tilly began to hop from foot to foot, she wanted it all NOW, the spinning, the whizzing, the lights, the music, regardless of whether it was open yet or not! The air began to get chill with tetchy prickles as the eggshells got crunchy underfoot...all this and we still had three hours to go until illuminations began!
And so we crossed the river, leaving the fair rides behind. Tilly in her wheelchair, her mood too challenging for her to even contemplate walking as well. We decided to go in search of food!
Hot dogs, crazy crowds, no toilets, head smashing meltdowns in cafes and a woman refusing to let us queue jump for the toilet even though Tilly was overturning tables and smashing her head, became the order of the next few hours. 'I waited so why shouldn't she!' the woman's comment, as she stood calmly at the front of the queue blocking my hysterical child's path to the only toilet'. Other people in the queue, who had insisted we go to the front, surged up in outrage, making a woman with a heart way too small, relent.... very reluctantly!
|Tilly and her beautiful brother and sister, happy|
again after the toilet incident!
And finally we made it back to the fair, now open!
All was going so well, until the Ferris wheel! Poppy had been waiting with anticipation for this, her ride of choice, but just at the point of departure into the clouds Tilly changed her mind.
And just like that we were left with a sobbing and utterly distraught Poppy, (who wasn't allowed to ride by herself and no adults allowed!) And then from out of the crowd a teenager stepped forward and offered to take Poppy on! To say I was touched and grateful is an understatement and after the toilet incident my faith was once more restored in human nature! Cue Tilly then going into major screaming meltdown because she didn't want to stand and watch Poppy! Oh boy!
|Poppy riding the Ferris wheel with the kindest teenager in the world!|
|Daddy doing an amazing job calming Tilly!|
At last the Ferris wheel was done and Tilly could use her final ticket for one last ride on the planes...her favourite, while everybody else went on the little train! However when Tilly then realised we had no tickets left for her to ride the train as well something smelly hit the fan with a rather loud splat! It would seem that Mummy and Daddy's ride of choice on this day was to be the roller-coaster, a continual daily ride that parenting a child with SMS straps you to, whizzing you over the plummeting drop, regardless of whether you want to or not!
We made it back to the river bank in time for the illumination parade but by this stage Tilly was lost within thrashing screams. We tried everything to calm her and in the end Joe carried her off, hoping a change of scenery would do the trick. They didn't re-appear for over an hour! And so I watched the show with a fascinated Busby and Poppy, whilst constantly looking over my shoulder praying for Joe to reappear. I smiled with my kiddies, pointing alongside them at the spectacle before us, but underneath my heart was racing, my thoughts and worries spiralling, my turbulent soul like the legs of a swan beneath the surface of its graceful glide across the water.
At one point an enthralled Poppy suddenly turned and looked me straight in the eyes and said, your worrying about Tilly aren't you Mum! Oh well, perhaps I'm not so good at hiding things after all! Yes darling, I am a bit, but it's OK!
Busby flaked out and soon it was just Poppy by herself watching the colourful display. It was another of those moments when 'what might have been' takes over and breaks a Mummy's heart! It should have been Poppy and her big sister together at those railings! I watched that little girl in the bobble hat standing alone and my heart literally broke! I heard it cracking and the pieces dropping to the floor! And just like that I was right back in that heartache all over again, will this place never leave me, this place where my soul cries out, yelling the same things over and over again...My child has SMS, this can't be right, this isn't what we planned, this is so unfair, I can't bear this!
Tilly finally returned, the boats had long gone and the crowds were dispersing. Joe found me sitting on a freezing bench with my kids falling asleep either side of me! Tilly ran to me and hugged me in an exhausted state and then she asked for the boats. They've finished darling... BOOM!!!! we were straight back into it with Tilly all over again! My poor darling had missed the boats and I felt so sad for her. And as I was pulled to the floor with Tilly wild and distraught the fireworks began, immediately overhead. It was at this moment we discovered that all of our children are terrified of fireworks! We swooped them all up, put our heads down and literally rammed our way through the unmoving, impregnable crowds, back to the car.
So did we enjoy the day, yes it was magical, it was wonderful, it was our normal! Did we find it hard, yeah, it was too hard really for anybody to cope with without going insane... that our normal as well. Did we laugh and create wonderful memories, yes, whilst also crying and feeling broken hearted at times within the crazy mix of events that make up our everyday...this too our normal!
This day sums up our life really, it's a roller-coaster that never lets up. It's wondrous and heartbreaking all at the same time. It's calm and peaceful and manic-crazy in alternating minutes. It's impossibly difficult and surprisingly easy from one moment to the next. Our life has ups and downs like a mountain range, there are no plains of level ground here.
On the drive home Tilly grinned and yelled that she had had the best time and her smile melted my heart! And just like that I became once more the most blessed mummy in the whole world. Life for sure is a circle, hold on tight, loop the loop and magic will always eventually come back into play! What a ride!