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Respite?

  1. A short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant.

Isn’t that just a terrible meaning of the word respite?

Ok, it took me a very long time before I let David go for respite, why? First of all, he was my first child and I was overly protective of him. Secondly, how competent would the people I leave him with be? Thirdly, how could I leave him and let someone else look after him, shower him etc. and the fourth reason, I would miss him. So, David was around 12 or 13 years of age before I let him go for a weekend break.

Previous to this, I filled out pages regarding David’s need, his likes and dislikes and went through a whole day in his life, I went to visit the staff and place of respite, asking to see the whole house, kitchen, dining room, and bedroom and then I asked to meet all if possible or most of the staff. I was also introduced to a few children there and watched them enjoying playing or T.V and I also watched their interaction with staff.  You could say I was “an annoying” parent!! I then brought David up to see the place and to give him a “feel” for the place and see him interacted with staff, we stayed at tea time and mixed with everyone. David had his own questions at this time too.

I then sat down with my family to discuss this and my twins wanted to make sure they were happy with the facility also and we all agreed that they would “check it out” when David was being dropped off and if they were not happy, David was not to go. My husband was also very apprehensive regarding this, however, trusted me on whether it would suit David.

So it was time: Sean & Kate came with me to bring David to respite. We brought in all his bits and pieces and we were shown to his room and we checked out the shower, etc. there was no rush put on us to leave and when David was happy to say our goodbye we did. (I did say at this point to the carers that I may be banging on the door at 3.00am to see him, they told me “no problem” and I had mobile numbers in case they were going out so I could contact them at any time.) What was David going to do? From the sound of it, have a ball? They had written everything he liked in his file and it was up to David to decide. In no time he had the two days planned, down to what he was having for breakfast, it looked like from my point of view, his wish was their command.

Now, what? We could spend time and completely concentrate on our other two children. There was plenty they wanted to do or even plan something for ourselves. Going forward as David welcomed respite to meet his new friends so did we. It was good for the whole family.

So what would my definition of respite be?  I would explain it as “a break, relaxation, recuperate and “me” time. A break from routine.