So in a bizarre twist, I find myself with an hour to spare during the busiest week of the year, especially for us Mummy Types. My car is having a quick repair, so I am being ‘forced’ to sit down and drink a *fairly* decent cup of coffee in the customer lounge while it’s being done. A rare occurrence. At first I was annoyed as I have about 23,856 things that need doing, but actually it’s given me the chance to have a little moment of reflection…

Last week was the week of the nativity play and the school concert. As a mum of three I have seen quite a few in my time. Proud parents have been posting photos of their offspring in the obligatory tea-towel head dresses on the socials and it’s all really lovely.

However, the Christmas performance in a Special School is a different matter. It is an absolute game changer. A massively humbling experience that will touch your heart for ever.

I’m not really a public blubberer these days (unless too much alcohol has been consumed) but I challenge anyone not to be moved to tears in this situation. Young people who live with pain and disability on a daily basis, each with their own story to tell. Each child immeasurably loved by their families, doing their bit, playing their own part. The many wonderful staff that care for them, helping them along to achieve their full potential in life. Every amazing pupil up on stage, having their very special moment of fame. The child that cannot speak, waving a flag proudly to the audience, the child confined to a wheelchair, dressed in a beautiful costume looking as proud as punch. The young lady gifted with the most stunning voice, singing her heart out, but unable to make any eye contact at all with the audience.

When you’re a parent of one of these children, sat in the audience, the emotion is cripplingly raw, almost too much to bear, but we’re all in the same boat. I’m sat with my Dad. His life has also been changed by having a grandson with autism. But, he has risen to the challenge and is the best ever grandad to my boy. I know he is feeling what I’m feeling. I know the family in front of me are too. And those to the side. We’re all in this together. It’s the stuff of nightmares to the outsider, the mainstream parent. But we know otherwise: we know the gifts that these special children can bring to our lives. Yes, there are challenges, times of true desperation, times when you think you can’t carry on, but our children inspire us to continue. And for that I thank them: the truly beautiful ones.

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