Last year I really missed summer. Missed the warm salt water waves and volcanic sunsets erupting in the English evening sky. Missed the chance to feel balmy breezes playing with my hair and my shoulders and the sun turning my skin golden brown. Missed getting drunk in a field full of strangers, dancing and laughing like a teenager to the music. But most of all I missed my boy. This summer has been special. Granted we haven’t been far but just to see him in the pool in the garden, playing with his cousins, hear his giggles as he gets down to the wah-wah pedal of Steely Dan. Just to see him strong, see him walking and running. To take his hand and walk together on the sand fills me up with glorious technicolour. It is everything I’ve ever wanted. The only thing I miss this summer is our innocence. People are never satisfied. That I have him at all should be enough. I find I’m going along just fine, maybe enjoying life and then as happens on rollercoasters, you take a turn, fall fast, scream and gasp for breath at what could actually happen. Then you’re in the house of horrors again.
To save myself from certain insanity I pour as much goodness into Charlie as I can. We walk the naturopathic line. That means mornings I juice, sort his supplements, distill his water, make his green tea for the day and cook the majority of his organic, fresh food from scratch. Afternoons are saved for outings, schooling, trampolining, bike rides. Evenings mean a stint in his infra-red sauna (which if nothing else serves to relax him) before his filtered bath, stories by campfire and the resonant light machine. And come the autumn we will be starting hyperbaric oxygen therapy. We avoid wireless as much as we can, harsh chemicals in the house and most importantly……stress and negativity. Well, Charlie does, while I concern myself with the impact fracking could have on him, becoming more and more the activist at all the injustices that need supporting. Breathe. Breathe in the air. It’s not an easy path the naturopathic one. Its time-consuming but I believe in it. We all believe in what resonates with us. And I know it helps me to think that there is something I can do about the health of my kid. Most of all I look at how far he has come. He is on his feet, he looks so much healthier, he has masses of hair again and mentally he is starting to emerge from his shell. We go to the bakery, post office, book shop and of course the toy shop together. He doesn’t speak to anyone yet. But he’s out there with me in society. Something amazing happened last week. For the first time I took Charlie to the cinema. We sat on the back row, smuggled in our green tea and homemade brownies and he said to me “Wow, look at the crowd Mum!” meaning the people sat in front of us. He got a real kick out of being part of it. Although he chatted incessantly throughout the film giving me a running narrative of the plot, developed a fascination with the spring back cinema seats and was bowled over by there being a big screen and a little screen from where the film was being projected, it was an absolute success. Just like taking any other six-year-old to the cinema. Because he was a part of things, but it didn’t require much from him. A great step forward.
What astounds me about the life I lead now is the response I get from people. Whilst some are interested and think its great that so much care is taken, there are others that view what I do with suspicion and scorn. Further, there are others that actively ridicule it. I’ve had many a cancer parent poke fun and try to take me to task on why I do this. Perhaps, outside of their own beliefs, another person’s point of view doesn’t exist with any merit. When did people stop becoming responsible for their own health? Leave it to the professionals to mop up. Can it not all work together? Is there any harm in trying? Instead I get the hippy jokes and some days the nasty comments do hurt. Some days I think just wake me up when it’s all over. It puts me in mind of Paul Simon singing “who am I to blow against the wind” and occasionally makes me question how I live now. But the bottom line is that I do this to make Charlie healthier and stay healthier. And I answer to Charlie and to no one else. What I find startling is how ready people are to accept a more and more toxic society, yet view anything natural as quack. Astonishing. These days more than ever I try to take people as I find them. But unless you’ve walked my line; divorce, autism, bankruptcy, cancer to name a few then you can’t hope to know what path is right for me and mine. Faced with the opportunity of a corporate lifestyle of flash cars, houses and holidays, fat bank balances and tax dodges over a natural more humble life then yes, tree-hugging aside, I would have loved to have been a hippy. Right on I would. But I’m still British for god’s sake! So summer may be ending but my son is sitting gloriously on the horizon.