I’m not going to do this issue any disservice by blaming my fluctating hormones, pre-Christmas blues or the exhaustion of being halfway through a nightshift offering advice to drunken morons. On my happiest day, in the best moment of anything, reading this article would have reduced me to tears. Thank God I insist on some balanced media coverage, and have gone beyond my lazy habit of getting all my news from the Guardian, or I might have missed out on reading about this year’s Sunday Times Christmas Appeal.
Many persuasive words have already been written about the need to support young carers, as you would have seen in the links above, and none moreso than those of these amazing people who provide this service in the face of continuing adversity – sacrificing their own time and money to support children who don’t deserve to have their lives be so bloody hard. I feel for the parents too, their own frustrations and guilt about relying on their children, asking more of them than you would reasonably expect of anyone so young. Does it resonate more because the centres and the children they discuss are mere miles from where I grew up? For me, Kilmarnock is associated only with not going to away games in the winter due to notorious roads (the A77 I think?) and the best pies in the Premier League. How flippant when you consider this, right?
It’s vaguely personal I suppose, although I was never a carer as such. Living with a seriously ill parent does take a toll on the family as a whole, especially through restrictions from what all the ‘normal’ people seem to be able to do. Can’t stay out past nine because you’ll cause a panic attack, can’t make noise in the house because you’ll cause a ‘flaky’. I can’t imagine how much worse it would be without the other parent to bear the brunt of it, to be doing the cooking and housework far beyond what they teach at Brownies, when you’re asked to do so much more than just making a daily trip to the shops for essentials.
These kids need and deserve support, regular breaks, a chance to be kids at all. If you have any money to spare, or if you were thinking of getting me a card or small gift this Christmas, I would sincerely prefer if you directed the funds here. instead.