Royals, Raffles, and Really Good Handwriting

In true Friday fashion, today was an absolute rollercoaster! And honestly, I’m pretty happy with how it went down.

I had a slight lie-in. Lately I’ve not been sleeping my best so sometimes I just have to give in and say “Stop, Stephanie, just stop for a while.” Instead of rising at 6am, I rose at 7.15 and I’m glad I did. It was just enough to give me the little break I needed before trying to adult.

Everything today has gone annoyingly EXCELLENT though.

Today I did a real grown up thing for the first time in my career – I trained two new volunteers on the ways of The Ward. You see, I’m a proud volunteer ward helper at St Oswald’s in Gosforth. I started there three years ago and, although I’ve had a lot of surgery and time away for medical intervention, I’ve kept my hand in doing bank shifts for best part of my time there. It’s possibly the most rewarding thing I’ve done to date. The two new girls were lovely and I gave them all my little tips and pearls of knowledge that I’ve developed to make the shift run more smoothly. According to feedback from my line manager, the girls really rated me as a mentor so I am positively chuffed to ribbons.

On my way onto the ward, Tracey stopped me and she asked “You are Stephanie Ward aren’t you?” and I was like “Uhhhm, yeah, what have I done?” and she informed me she thought I’d won a prize in the raffle! So I bounced along to the nurses station to find I had won second prize, a beautiful Easter hamper with two large eggs, a large cuddly bunny, and lots of smaller treats too. I knew immediately it was going to go to Jack, because I knew he had a potentially challenging day ahead.

A few miniature eggs lighter since I dished a few out to my lovely patients!

As I was handing the paperwork to my manager that would sign the girls off, I mentioned winning the raffle, and it just so happened she was sitting with a lady from marketing! After having my photo taken, she asked me if I would be interested in being involved in some bits for volunteer week (details to be confirmed!). Of course I said yes, and I look forward to being involved in that. Volunteers play a huge role in the successful running of the charity – from working in the shops and community fundraising, to working within the hospice itself.

Once home, I decided I needed a claw clip for my hair to keep it off my face since summer is coming, and so I headed into the town centre. I got all I wanted, and nipped into The Works for a browse, to find when I got to the till that I had enough point accumulated to get literally everything I wanted for FREE!! Free shopping is the best kind though.

So I bounced off home, full of happy energy and pulled into the school car park since it was almost pick up time, just in time to see Jack returning with his class.

Today, there was a very special visitor at his school – Prince Edward! The Earl of Wessex was here in my little seaside town to celebrate the tenth anniversary of my little one’s school. We only found out on Tuesday and so I was very worried that Jack wouldn’t have had enough time to get prepared for such a big visit. The initial plan was for his year group, along with all other children (except Year 1 and Reception), to walk from the south site to the north site. It’s not a massive walk, perhaps just over a mile… but it involved crossing quite a few roads, one of which can be very busy.

I personally didn’t want Jack to be in the position where he could put himself at risk with his behaviour, which can be very challenging if he decides he doesn’t want to do something, and so I offered to taxi him and his TA to the north site. She spoke to his class teacher, and the next day he collared me to let me know that when they had asked about getting Jack on a coach, there was miraculously enough room for not just him but his ENTIRE CLASS. It then transpired today that the whole year group had been bussed there and back. I think it was brave of them to ever consider taking 90 6-7 year olds on foot.

By all accounts the children had a wonderful time. Jack’s friend Georgina (a year younger) also told me a few days back that she had been picked to give flowers to the Prince. I must remember to ask her how it went because she was so nervous!

When he was coming back, he seemed very happy, waving a flag and smiling holding his assistant’s hand. He saw me, waved, and then just went into school, where in the past he would have refused to leave my side. It was lovely, and yet my little heart lurched to think that he’s becoming independent in all these little ways. I headed round to hear how fabulously he had behaved, and that he had even got Handwriting Hero for trying so hard with his writing. Since he was so good, he got the hamper straight away! He was so happy with it!

“Mammy can I have a picture with my toys, plus my new bunny and the egg?”

So now I am home, he has gone to his dad’s house for the weekend, and I am positively on top of the world. Try and knock me off, I dare you!

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