Keep Your Chin Up

Nicola Sheldon by Nicola Sheldon Additional Needs

Nicola Sheldon

Nicola Sheldon

I'm Nicola, mama to three awesome boys. We live in Thatcham, Berkshire with my husband and dad extraordinaire Chris along with our dog Percy and ca...

I woke up this morning and went to the bathroom to get myself ready for the day.

As I stood at the mirror brushing my teeth and tying my hair up I read the little card that I had jammed into the mirror frame some 3.5 years ago.

"Keep your chin up and never lose hope because you just don't know what tomorrow might bring"

This card arrived in one of the many care packages we received in the early days while we were still reeling from Thomas's difficult start in life and poor prognosis.

When I first read it, for a split second I considered binning it with the packaging it came with. I couldn't imagine that tomorrow could bring anything other than more of the black hole of despair I was already living in.

But I didn't, I shoved it into the mirror knowing I would see it every day and hoping that its flowery optimism might rub off on me.

In the early days I mostly ignored it,the optimism just made me angry. But at some point I stopped making an effort to ignore it, and on days where it all felt a bit harder I'd make a point of reading it.

This morning I read it and smiled to myself.

I love that, after so long of living in the moment, I can finally look ahead to tomorrow. And that actually never mind tomorrow, I'm quite happy to be right here, right now.

I've come a long way. Those first 6-8 months are a blur, I remember only snippets.

I remember Harrison saying "Mummy is never happy anymore".

And I remember thinking, "No I'm not kid, I don't think I'll ever be happy again."

It seemed impossible to have had your life snatched from in front of you and to possibly learn to live again. I had resigned myself to endure it. But somewhere along the way things started to change.

The sun started to shine, and it burned away the shadows and cobwebs.

Also, Thomas began to settle a little and we started to see glimpses of his little personality.

And finally, I started to feel that feeling they promise you at birth, the overwhelming love.

It didn't hit me in the way they promise, it snuck up on me when I wasn't looking.

And now? Now I am the proud mumma of 3 awesome boys.

Now I have started to rebuild our lives, it looks a little different than before, but the main thing is that it still includes love, happiness, laughter, joy, and hope.

I can hear the sound of my three boys downstairs getting ready for the day, music playing, paw patrol blaring, the blender going.

It's noisy, it's chaotic, it's messy and I still have the odd dark day, but it's my family and I love who we are.

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