Our family is a little bit different.
We look pretty ordinary – Dad, Mum, two boys aged 10 and eight, pet Labrador, six months old. Sensible clothes, lockdown hair, arriving in a 59-reg Cmax.
You’ll remember us though.
You’ll remember how happy the boys and puppy seemed as they got out the car, all keen for adventure.
You’ll remember how the boys seemed to be a bit over excited on the walk, one singing a tune, the other chipping in with loud screams of ‘YEAH’ and both laughing. You’ll remember how the Mum and Dad largely let this go.
You’ll remember how the Mum and Dad seemed worried whenever the older boy wandered a few metres away, as if he might suddenly decide to not adhere to social distancing.
You’ll remember how we looked a happy group, sat on a quiet grass bank having snacks.
You’ll remember a child screaming ‘Be Quiet, Be Quiet. Stop Talking’ and how, rather than being met with a telling off, they were met with ‘it’s OK. Sorry, shall we all be quiet for a bit’.
You’ll remember how the boys danced to the radio you had playing and how it made your family smile.
You’ll remember thinking we looked a lovely family.
Or, if you met us at a different time, you’l remember thinking we looked a bit dysfunctional.
You’ll remember thinking it was nice to see the boys and dog having fun.
Or, depending on your own sensibilities, you’ll remember seeing the exact same thing and thinking something about how children shouldn’t be so loud.
You’ll remember the family being back at the carpark and the Mum saying ‘that went OK didn’t it’ and the Dad looking unsure.
You’ll remember smiling at us as you passed, saying ‘hi’ and we’ll remember that.
Or you’ll remember casting a look of disapproval, but we’ve forgotten you. We’ve met your type before.
You’ll remember how Mum and Dad tried to ensure the boys had fun, but in a way that didn’t stop anyone else enjoying the great outdoors.
You’ll remember how they didn’t always succeed.
You’ll remember the puppy eating horse shit. Why do they do that?
That’s what you’ll remember, but what do I remember?
I remember thinking that it can be really stressful having kids with additional needs. You can feel a bit on edge, especially in a new place with plenty of strangers.
I remember having that degree of reluctance about going, knowing there will be the odd ‘moment’.
But, looking back, I also remember that both boys said they had a great time. They explored, played, did some great walking and saw somewhere new. The dog liked it too – she slept happily on the way home, probably dreaming of eating horse shit.
I remember driving home thinking ‘that went OK but I need a cup of tea when we get in.’