This last five years has not been the easiest five years of my life but it has taught me who I am and who to trust.
In the last five years both me and my man were made redundant after 15 years of solid employment each. working, We were unemployed for over a year and had to watch our debts just get higher and higher. We then took on the permanent role of kinship carers for our niece, I went to college, My man finally managed to get a job and a good one at that and I managed to pass all my exams and get to university. Every summer is a financial nightmare as I cannot find work that fits around childcare so we make do with what we have from my mans wage. So every year we manage to get the finances under control and then in summer it gets blown to pieces but we have worked hard and every year summer gets a little bit easier.
All of three of us have gone through high emotions, heartbreak and just sheer frustration at getting one step forward and knocked ten steps back. There has been underhandedness, family breakdowns and sheer non-acceptance of certain situations, to the point where the best thing to do was cut out the negativity altogether. There are also still ongoing meetings and hearings etc, that go along with being kinship carers.
On top of all this we are now having to move because we the landlord has decided to move back into this place, we have two months to find a deposit and a month advanced rent, removal costs etc etc and keep this family together... and so it all begins again.
There have been good things too however, My man has excelled so much so that he has achieved two promotions in the last year. He absolutely loves his job! His employer is one of the best we have ever come across, putting focus on staff moral and supplying free fruit, soft drinks, tea coffee every day. They organise a monthly presentation on business progress with food and drinks afterwards and anyone can go to this, they also organise a yearly away day for all the staff and everything is paid for so his work is great.
My niece is turning out to be the little genius when she puts her mind to it and we do our best to give her a full and interesting life. She did kickboxing for nearly two years getting to yellow belt and now is looking to try out Judo. She sings in the school choir and has achieved her goal of singing solo. she loves history which is great because we are avid learners with books and books on everything from history to computer software. She also plays football and basketball and does her own research on the internet in relation to history. I also met one very good friend through my niece and her best friend who is also there to listen when I need to talk and understands how passionate I can be about different things.
Up until this point I can say that I have passed every assessment and exam I have taken over the last three years, I do my best to get the best marks possible and to date, I am sitting with A's and B's with one C sitting messing it all up (I suffer from OCPD so the C really irritates me) I am not counting my chickens however because each year does get harder. Through college and university I met another really good friend who has been through many of these situations with me so already knows who I really am.
The people in my life that I expected help and support from where never really there when I needed them, never took the time to understand who I was, never accepted who I wanted to be which is probably why it took so long for me to go to college. It seems they all had preconceptions of what and who I should be. They were all wrong, I am me, my man is who he is and I would never dream of changing that because it's why I fell in love with him, and my niece is learning who she wants to be everyday and we will continue to allow her to make that decision for herself.
We are honest, we are hard working and we trust each other like we trust no-one else on this planet to get through each and every one of these hurdles. Life keeps throwing these things at us and we keep facing them head on, I tend to charge in full steam ahead and just deal with the situation as soon as it happens, he is much calmer than me. He slows me down a little and plays devils advocate a lot when I go charging into situations, so we are a complete balance. We have practically no support in what we do except for one family member. They are there to praise us when we achieve something or to tell us when we are wrong about something, but they are and always have been, there.
We don't expect hand outs or people to do things for us but just acknowledging what we do is all we ever asked. We didn't ask for any of the situations that life threw at us but we don't run form them. We deal with them. Neither of us believe in shoving your head in the sand as that fixes nothing and neither of us is a great believer in the blame culture as that fixes nothing either. We are two people that, like many, have gone through hell repeatedly only to come out stronger on the other side. We have managed this because we fight for each other. We believe we are doing the right thing, the honest thing and the best thing for this family. We do this so as we can have a better future and we truly believe that one day this will happen but until then we will keep on fighting. This is who I am.