Knowing that I was going to be going in to hospital, this time last year I swallowed my pride and wrote an e-mail to home start asking if I fitted their criteria for a home start helper.
Pressing the send button on that e-mail was one of the best things I did for us as a family, it started a chain of events that led us to Wendy. We are so blessed to have her in our lives, but first let me tell you a little of Home Start and the things they do.
Home start are the UK's leading family support charity, they help parents with at least one child under 5 in their own homes by providing a support, friendly and practical assistance in their own home.
What they did for me was come and have a chat with me in the comfort of my home, meet with the boys and find out what was going on in our lives and how they could help. What this meant was that they matched us with Wendy, it is and was a perfect match, she is a retired primary school teacher.
She is the most wonderful person I have ever met and she fitted us like an old pair of shoes. She complimented me and she brings out a calmness and joy in the boys.
Since last December she has come to spend at least a couple of hours with us each week. She plays with the boys, she does jigsaws, reads books, sits and helps with homework, gets beaten at monopoly and is more than a Grandma to my children.
When I was at my worst she visited more often, fitting in with when MadDad needed support and assistance. She listened to my mum when she was upset and worrying, she supported the boys and talked through what was happening and why.
She has been there for me at the end of a phone, in times of crisis (she even collected the boys when I had a flat tyre) and just when I wanted a friendly impartial ear.
The last time I went in to hospital she collected the boys from school. She is wonderful in every way.
I was asked this week if I would speak to someone about what home start did for me and I didn't hesitate. When they asked how I felt about my worker, I replied "I trust her with my children, they are the most important things in my life and I let her look after them without me around, what more can I say".
She now comes every week as a friend to spend time with me and the boys. The boys light up as soon as the door bell rings and they hold on tight as she is about to leave. I am proud to say that she is my friend, that she is am amazing person and we are all the better off for knowing her and blessed for her being in our lives.
Now I know that I am not what people would class as a typical person needing help from Home start, but appearances can be deceiving. My mother suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis and my Mother in Law suffers from Lupus, which means that they can not be as hands on with the children as they would like. I was looking for some stability and consistency in the boys life. It was so so hard to say I need some help, but we have gained so much more than I could have ever imagined.
So anyone out there that thinks that home start could make the difference in their life, then please give them a chance, but also anyone out there that feels that they have what it takes to be a home start supporter, then please, please give them a call. It is such a worthwhile cause and once I can I would like to become a helper and give back some of the karma we have received.
I guess what I am trying to say is that sometimes you need to swallow your pride and take a look at what you think you need, evaluate the situation, take a deep breath and do what is best for your family as a whole. Sometimes serendipity just happens and life gets all the better for it.