A Gift

A Gift

This was a gift, shared by a lovely friend, which she discovered whilst dog walking – a wonderland of lily of the valley. It isn’t quite out yet but she wanted to share it so we three friends and two dogs set off on a walk this afternoon to find the air fragrant with lily of the valley and further up the hill, lilacs! I have never seen so many lily of the valley together – I am so excited to go back there over the next few days and watch them coming into full bloom, the scent might almost be overpowering, but I am more than happy to be overpowered by it!
And, in the meantime, the testing continues at Arrowsmith. I think Simon was more tested by cycling to school with me this morning! He cycled back with one of his class mates this afternoon and I think that was much more fun!
On another matter, a book that is worthy of mention is one that I have on my pile of books by my bedside at home in Sydney is “Far From the Tree” – I also have a growing pile here in Peterborough, despite my belonging to the library in both places! I knew I wanted to read, and keep, “Far from the Tree” as soon I read about it so bought it but couldn’t fit it into my suitcase but now, having read Meredith Jaffe, writing in The Hoopla, I want to read it even more – I think you will see why when you read what she says about it:
“The Sydney Writers’ Festival officially launched on Tuesday night with the opening address given by renowned psychologist, activist and writer Andrew Solomon.

From an assignment to write about deaf culture for the New York Times Magazine began a journey that saw Andrew conduct over 300 family interviews with parents of children who are deaf, dwarfs, profoundly autistic, born out of rape, mentally ill, incarcerated for committing terrible crimes, prodigies and terminally ill.

It poses the uncomfortable question: how many families “have ended up grateful for experiences they would have done anything to avoid”?

The resulting book, Far From the Tree, which took over 10 years to write, has been described by critics as lionhearted, monumental and mind-opening. However, rather than chronicling the inexorability and unfairness of fate, this is a book that celebrates life in all its diversity, the great capacity for joy all children bring into parents’ lives and the journey we all go on to forge a meaningful identity from the experiences we have of life.

“Life is enriched by difficulty; love is made more acute when it requires exertion” – I would add that all parents of children with special needs, whatever their needs may be, know and appreciate that.

– Dr Andrew Solomon, writer, psychologist and activist


2 thoughts on “A Gift

  1. Hi Fi,
    I have been catching up on your blog and love hearing your news and adventures. I love that quote by Andrew Solomon – it certainly rings true with me. I heard him speak on the radio for the Writer’s Festival and he was fascinating. I can’t wait to read his book.
    I’m so pleased that Simon is doing so well at Arrowsmith – you must be so proud of him! I met a girl who’s sister is at Arrowsmith and her family are amazed by the school too.
    Allie x

    • Hi Allie,
      Thanks for your comment – it is great to hear from you! I hope all is well with you all.
      Yes we are proud of Simon – he has just finished all his assessments so has a couple of days off, we are off to Niagara Falls! A well deserved break after all the hard work.
      Hope that we can catch up with you all when we are home in July/August – we’d love to see you, Fi x

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