My daughter and I played scrabble tonight. It wasn’t a particularly high-scoring game but we completed the board (except for my Q). We played last weekend too when, as I recall, my daughter was the one left with the Q. There might seem nothing remarkable about this except, as I just commented to her, we have managed this while Dylan is home for the weekend.
Playing scrabble would have been inconceivable a few months ago; our evenings were dominated by Dylan’s anxiety and his outbreaks of ‘challenging behaviour’. During this time I had to make fine judgements about how to keep my daughter and myself safe while responding to Dylan’s urgent and often overwhelming needs. In this situation, I wouldn’t have contemplated even starting a game of scrabble.
While my daughter and I packed up the board this evening we reminded ourselves how much better life is now. During tonight’s scrabble challenge, Dylan was elsewhere in the house watching a film; we could hear him making happy noises while we played. At some point he came to see what we were doing and to ‘ask’ for a banana. Throughout the evening, Dylan appeared calm and happy. Our home life, my daughter and I agreed, feels transformed.
Dylan is clearly benefitting from his move to residential care but we too are beneficiaries; it’s great to be able to divide my attention more equally between my children and to enjoy ordinary things like a game of scrabble. At the moment my daughter is capitalising on this rather more effectively than I am (she has beaten me twice) but there is time, hopefully, for me to put that right 🙂