I can prepare for my daughter’s 21st and reflect nostalgically that no-one can be prepared for SCI. #SCI Awareness Month

My youngest daughter is 21 years old. We hosted a celebration lunch for her. I am not a professional chef so quite unprepared for the demands of event catering. I figured out the quantities to cook, some mathematical assistance from Martha was required! And just as I conquered the measurements I realised I won’t have to cater for such large numbers any time soon. The experience reminded me of Martha’s HSC year – just as I got the hang of the examination stress, trials and revision schedule it was all over. I suppose this dawns on every parent with their last babe. Just as we perfect our supportive roles our children leave the nest.

It is a good thing that we are delivered babes that grow slowly, whose needs change subtly so as parents we adapt and manage accordingly. No-one can be totally prepared for life as that would be preposterous as well as dull. Everyone has to learn, grow and adapt to meet the life that evolves around them, revising aspects throughout their lifespan, on the hoof!  Revising a recipe for a family celebration is fun, revising life’s goals after a SCI is devastating and more challenging but achievable and deserving of celebration just like any other life success.

Martha’s 21st celebrations made me reflect on Emily’s 21st party, we had no idea that 18 months later Emily would be quadriplegic. If we had any insight into the future would we alter our life’s course to avoid harm and accidents and would we live life to the full? I am glad we can’t read the future as it enables us to push boundaries, experience exhilaration and expand ourselves without being  totally consumed by fear of the approaching twists and turns of our life-time. Yes we risk injury but life demands we cross the road,  we drive cars,  we dive into cooling pools and enjoy the exhilaration of snow skiing.

I pushed myself to host Martha’s 21st and prepare the quantities required for our guests – I decided early on to over-cater rather like Christmas. I enjoyed trying to rise to the catering challenge and I see that this trait runs in the family whether party food or SCI recover. No-one is prepared for these one-off events so I aim to exert myself to the challenge and endeavor to enjoy party catering just as I facilitate Emily’s SCI recovery.

September is SCI awareness month, it is difficult to make people aware of spinal cord injury as it’s usually  traumatic, unpredictable and quite unimaginable. SCI is difficult to contemplate or be prepared for. Even if I advised everyone to lay still for a while and imagine not being able to move, after a time you’d get up and put the kettle on. SCI awareness is a challenge as uniquely incomprehendible so I blog with the aim of showing an insight into our lives and making people aware that life goes on and there is hope and happiness with disability. I’d like to make more people aware that wheelchair users are regular individuals  – see the individual not the disability. That’s being aware!

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