Is it time to wake up already?

Dressed, washed, marmite on toast, water, iPad... All seems pretty standard.

Why does my sister have to have her iPad so loud?

Socks, shoes, coat, headphones on, I guess the bus is here...

But wait...I wanted more toast and marmite. I thought, as my Mummy put me on the bus to school.

I feel tired today... I was wide awake last night whilst everyone else was asleep.

My nappy felt uncomfortable. I turned my light on and spun my cog toy between my fingers until I fell back to sleep.

The label in my t-shirt is really itchy and irritating me.

Are these new headphones? They feel different, somewhat tighter.

Why has the bus stopped? We don’t usually stop here for this long.

It’s time to get off the bus, but I have pins and needles.

The lights are too bright, my head hurts.

The noise is too loud and I can’t shut it out.

I really wanted that toast, but I’ll just have to wait until I’m offered something else.

I was playing with that car first, but no one saw the other child take it from my hands.

My glasses are mucky I can’t see as well as usual, it’s frustrating. I throw them on the floor but they’re picked up and put back on my face. Which turns into a vicious circle until someone realises to clean them.

I bumped my head and it really hurts, but nobody saw it happen.

I’ve just remembered something funny from yesterday and cannot stop laughing but I cannot share the joke with you because I cannot talk.

Cheesy Wotsits? But I really want BBQ hula hoops!

My bottle is empty and I’m thirsty. I’ll have to wait until someone notices and thinks to fill it up.

I’m having so much fun at school, I feel happy but I cannot tell anyone.

Back on the bus, it’s home time I guess.

My headphones aren’t working so I throw them on the floor. They’re picked up and put on the side out of reach. I can watch my iPad but there’s no sound. I can see my headphones but I cannot tell you the problem.

I dropped my favourite toy at school today, I miss it, where is it? I want it, but I cannot ask you for it.

I’m home! I’ve had a good/bad day I want to tell my Mummy everything, but I can’t so instead I’ll show you through body language and you’ll have to be mindful. 

Isn’t it sad that something so common, that the majority of us can do, is under appreciated and taken for granted? Communication is something so very simple and vital but most of us struggle to do this even though we have the ability.

I lose hours of sleep endlessly worrying about my son who is non-verbal. Most of which is completely out of my control. I even make up scenarios in my head to try to imagine just how hard and frustrating things must be living in his shoes, it pains me deeply.

I cannot imagine the frustrations a non-verbal child or adult must go through on a daily basis. I’m an over thinker, over analyser, over worrier, over everything when it comes to Riley. I’m an advocate, a Mummy and have to be a voice for my son because he doesn’t have one. I find myself constantly having conversations in my head, what if Riley wanted more breakfast? Is he warm enough? Would Riley like a snack? Why is Riley crying, is he too hot or cold? It’s exhausting.

Even when Riley isn’t with me my brain still cannot switch off. I constantly worry about him when he’s at school or at his Dad’s. Is Riley OK? What’s he doing right now? Has he had enough to eat or drink? Is he happy? Is someone with him? Is he ok on the bus? Should I have put a vest on him? It goes without saying Riley is 100% looked after both by his Dad and by the school he attends. I can only put it down the endless worrying to being a Mum, a special needs Mum.

I definitely appreciate that I have the ability to communicate more because of Riley. However, I was always the crazy Mum in the supermarket pushing her child round in the trolley and having a full blown conversation with them even though they were perhaps too small to talk or even understand.

Most of my childhood was me trying to cover up my thoughts, feelings and emotions by pretending I was ok and ‘normal’, whatever that is! I buried my problems deep down and hoped they’d go away. Instead they piled high and became a heavy burden on my shoulders. This in turn affected my whole life and the decisions I made. Aged 33 and I’m still struggling...

So as not to make the same mistakes I did growing up, I always explain the importance of communication with Summer, my Daughter, Riley’s sister. I encourage her to express her thoughts, feelings and emotions and to share them with me, so that I can understand and be there to help support and guide her. It’s so important to express how we are feeling and to talk about it if we are lucky enough to have a voice. 

I think communication is key to a successful life in general. Whether that be in a relationship, family, work life, you name it! Without communication it’s all a guessing and mind reading game and that’s way more exhausting than just simply using our voices and communicating, don’t you think?

Riley has his own Instagram account, go ahead and give him a follow - @thelifeofrileyxo

Read more of Clare's blogs over on her blog page and read more from our Family Fund Bloggers here.