We had a lazy day yesterday as Joshua was up all night in the end : I was awake with him until 4.40 and then my husband took over while I had three hours sleep. Bizarrely he was liveliest in the morning than he has been all holiday, when Joshua has been sleeping until lunchtime. I took him down to the beach before 9am and we had some breakfast on the seafront.
As it was a sunny day, my husband took the four dogs for a favourite walk along the beach and up a hill, which takes him around an hour. Joshua and I met them at the summit for a pub lunch with spectacular views . We enjoyed our meal in the popular pub. I was aware of another family of three sitting behind my husband , who were only remarkable because mum had purple hair. On closer inspection I could see that after they finished their meal, a teenaged boy was cuddling his mum and twiddling her hair. They left the pub as we were eating and it became clear that their son- Jack – was disabled.
The mother recognised us as a similar family and came to say hello to Joshua and introduced us to their son, Jack, who told us he was leaving now. We spoke about what they had eaten and what we were eating and my husband admired Jack’s anorak which , he explained, came from Father Christmas. They did not engage with any other diners in the busy pub but pushed at our open door with us. I guess they presumed that in us, they were assured of a friendly welcome and some safe interaction.
Not every family with children with special needs dare to eat out , and so those of us who do, need to support each other so that they are encouraged to repeat the experience.