Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Roots and Wings

Yesterday Boy Wonder and I dropped Jess to Barretstown. It was a glorious day, the sun danced through the canopy of trees as we wound our way round the country lanes to Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare. The tingle of anticipation for a ten day sibling camp had infected the entire car, we were like a heard of deer on full alert, scanning each gap in the hedges for the first delicious view of the castle gates. I couldn't help noticing that this time she was even more excited at the prospect of going back. A mixture of age and experience perhaps, but I also think the magic of Barretstown had a role to play.

Their philosophy is simple: get kids together, give them loads of love and encouragement then throw in some amazing activities and sit back and watch them blossom. By taking these kids away from the stress of living with a sick brother or sister, this camp allows them to take risks, to take their feet off the brakes and just let loose.

I once read that a parent's job was to provide roots and wings for their child. Childhood illness has uprooted us and clipped our wings at times. We work at it, but it's not always easy. Barretstown allows me to sub-contract some of my parental responsibilities, at least in the short term, until I regain my nerve. These camps have reinstated the devil-may-care licence of her childhood.

Thank you Paul Newman, and your Barretstown Gang, I hope you can see her standing tall, unfurling those powerful wings to their full life-enhancing childhood span: un-clipped and uninhibited.



steph said...


First visit in a long while and wow! look what I found!

Beautifully put and a superb tribute to the wonderful place that is Barretstown.

How well I can identify with that feeling of "until I regain my nerve"... only those who've suffered numerous knock-downs, would understand.

As for old BLUE EYES... I'm wilting ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Ann. I'm just one of many people who work on the team here in Barretstown and it's truly wonderful to read your story; it keeps the fire in the belly burning strong

AnnB said...

Hey Steph, Welcome back - great to see you back at the key board! Thanks for the lovely comment. Jess is having a ball I wimped out on Friday and had to call the camp to check on her! Couldn't last the distance - I'm such a lightweight!

Hello to you Barretstown team member - thanks so much for your comment I'm so glad it gave your fire a boost. The work you do is so important in so many ways - we are always happy to help in any way we can.

Anonymous said...

Great summer picture of Jess & Rory .
Send them all my love ...dear

Hope you're having a great time yourself?

Sun is back in South West France!!!
Now looks like we'll have a real summer weather at last!

Bisettes à toi ma pucette et à ta merveilleuse petite tribu.

aka Capital of France according to an expert

AnnB said...

Salut la capitale!

On pense a toi! Come back soon we miss you!
Rory wants to watch 'The Veggies' with you - he keeps talking about it!