Anyone (certainly in the UK at least) bringing up a child with learning or behavioral difficulties will be familiar with those ubiquitous phrases : “special needs”, “addition needs” or my personal favourite “challenging behaviour “. It costs something to bring up and care for a child, or adult in these circumstances, this is the unspoken meaning in those phrases. The true cost is hidden in the small print, all but invisible to everyone else until an insurmountable debt has accrued and normal functioning in the outside world becomes a shallow act played out in a trivial show. So how does this make me stronger ? Shear edurance will inevitably fail me, resilience in the face of challenging situations will only persist for so long. How to float in the same sea of expectation and achievement that the rest of the world seems to effortlessly glide accross ? In the silent moments of introspection, moments of distraction, glazed expresion and abstracted thought is where my son’s condition, the life threatening epilepsy, cognitive impairment and speach loss has cost me the most in the long run. Thought itself. To see through my circumstance however, to simply recognise there is no alternate reality, to stop trying to make my life fit a template society sells with every tv advert, social media success story and freinds latest tale of financial triumph takes practice, not thought. Life is not for projecting into a nebulous future but to be lived in every instant, i simply have to remember to do so. It’s something my sons condition has forced me to learn, a powerful lesson i should have learnt many, many years ago.