Sunshine Boy

I’d been thinking about Paddy’s happiness and his future a lot.

I had been noticing changes in his behaviour and more importantly in our relationship.

I wondered if I had caused him a confidence pull.

Life had changed so much over the course of the last 18months… His life consisted of a small family of four and now he had 2 homes, a new parent, a new sister and a new step brother.

I felt so stretched with all the ‘looking after’ I thought maybe Paddy was lost in my lack of attention.

I tried a few things, to help focus my responsibility. I wondered if Paddy’s struggle with explaining his emotions or lack of interest would be helped through drama. I thought this because it was something my parents had tried with me at a similar age. 

Each Saturday morning for an hour Paddy very much got to be himself. He thrived.

But then I was anxious about the prospect of him having nothing to do over the summer holidays and him slipping further into this default mode of arsey chatback and disinterest. 

He had shown far more interest in his Dad and how he missed him, so I thought again, it’s his age – he’s needing more influence from his dad – I’m just annoying him more… 

I wondered if I could encourage his dad to do more with him… Riding bikes?

Paddy’s dad called to say the bike riding didn’t work – Paddy was really upset and he felt useless.

Both Paddy and his Dad were now sad. Shite idea on my account. They don’t need my encouragement – they have their own relationship. 

I wondered if I enrolled him in a sporting summer camp… Would it help with his confidence? He could make new friends and learn that games are meant to be fun, not serious.

Paddy was so competitive in games, it was crippling to take part. I knew I needed to help him to be better with patience.

On the first day, Paddy was picked on for his trainers. Cliché and a stark reminder of being picked on myself for shit shoes.

Except Paddy’s shoes weren’t shit. He loved them.

Chris said to Paddy; tell them you don’t care what they think because it’s none of their business.  

Paddy did just as Chris had suggested. Confidence prevailed and on the last day of Summer Camp he was so much more positive. He had had an amazing day; there was huge water battle with the coaches, he was electric with the days story.

I made a promise to myself that this summer was going to be for the children and I planned loads of days out, with picnics and activities.

Chris and Paddy had been struggling to get on. They haven’t quite grasped their roles in their relationship, partly because they are still equal (in Paddy’s mind) and parenthood is not yet established. I say this with experience – not as a bystander. 

On leaving one day, Paddy was sulking out the front of the house. I asked him to come to me. Looking in to his watery eyes I couldn’t see past my reflection.

Remembering what it was like to be misunderstood by parents and how lonely it is when everyone is telling you to behave, do something, get on with it or shut up.

I held him and asked – do you trust me?

He said yes.

I said – I love you Paddy and I just want you to be happy, do you think you could try knew things today and to make an effort with Chris?

He said yes.

I watched him try and his mood rise. I loved him so much for this and kept hoping the glimpses of ‘Happy Paddy’ weren’t over yet. 

We had this conversation a couple of times over the course of the next two weeks. But it was now time for Paddy to go and stay at his dads.

I was nervous that he’d be inclined to play screens and do bugger all. So I had made additional plans for Paddy to stay with his grandparents and to take him to work with me also.

I didn’t know exactly what I was going to achieve by this but I knew he wasn’t right so I had to keep trying. 

Before he even got to his dads, Paddy wasn’t looking great at all from midweek.

His weight had dropped dramatically, his eyes sunk and his attention  completely distracted, narky and emotional. He was really quiet on Thursday and by the end of the day was so exhausted he slept on his bedroom floor.

He complained of feeling sick. We thought it might be food poisoning, so when I dropped him off at his dads on the Friday I propped him up on the couch with a towel and a sick bowl.

His dad messaged to say he was really sick during the night and he was worried about his breathing.

I was disgustingly hungover – it was a roasting hot Saturday mid morning. His dad talked me down and said I had nothing to worry about, he’s got it sorted. 

Didn’t feel right though? Right…

Paddy’s dad called and said he’d arranged an emergency appointment for 3.30pm. I was relieved that he was in charge and tried my best not to take over. I totally agreed with NHS 24 and it’s better to be safe than sorry…

I hadn’t stopped trying to figure out why he was ill. I was hazy in my day decisions – I should’ve stayed in Dundee. I blamed the sour cream and chive dip in the fridge, but no matter how many times I said it, I still didn’t believe it.

Paddy’s dad called again.

“Cara… Paddy’s got diabetes, he’s really, really ill the ambulance is coming for him now.”

I could feel the fear in his voice. Paddy’s dad is a strong man and so I knew then my baby was critical and I thought the absolute worst.

The drive to Dundee from Dunfermline was an attack of guilty accusations. I should’ve realised, I should’ve known. How could I not have been there? Why am I not there!! Chris doing his utmost to comfort me and keep me steady. 

As I dragged myself back from an over exaggerated panic attack – I literally fling myself out of the truck door and burst through  A&E s to find Paddy – alive.

My biggest anxiety was Paddy dying and I wasn’t able to stop it from happening.

‘Hey mum, I’m okay’

I hold on to his Dad. Our baby is going to be okay. 

Except I didn’t know that.

Because we’re just at the beginning of the most fearful moments in our lives and as Paddy’s condition unravels the delirium sets in – there are major concerns for fluid on his brain.

He’s very sick.

His ketones were 4.7  and his bloods 35+

By now Paddy is slipping in and out. He’s desperate for water and unbelievably thin. His entire body exhausted with the trauma of insulin self-destruct.

He looks nothing like Paddy. My heart is pounding and I’m hysterically imploding whilst trying to hold his hand.

I pray for my wee boy, I pray to whoever is listening. Please let him be okay.

As the morning comes  he’s been sleeping with his eyes half open for most of the night – I sit  and I’m just waiting for him to come around. It’s gone 6am and he looks up, smiles and says;

“Hey mum, are you okay? Have I still got diabetes?”

Stroking his wee white cheek, while wiping tears from my tired face… 

“Paddy, lad… you’ve still got diabetes.”

“Oh okay. I feel much better.”

“You look it sweetheart.”

The next few days are steady. Paddy’s not himself. He’s better. He’s better than all the Paddy’s I’ve seen these past few months. He’s the real Paddy. The one I thought I had lost forever. 

He’s my boy. He’s himself and he’s happy. 

It’s hard that his life has changed and he’ll have something to answer to for the rest of his days. But for Paddy right now, he’s so happy he sings.

My sunshine boy.