Sunday, August 17, 2008

A time to dance..............

It has been a roller coaster couple of weeks for a number of reasons, which meant I never got to post about something to celebrate in the midst of quite a lot of sadness and anxiety.

Two weekends ago we travelled north to West Auckland for the wedding of Sophie and John. It was a family affair, Lara did Sophie's hair, Sumaiyah was bridesmaid and I had the great honour of signing the register and doing the "father of the bride" speech.

Throughout the weekend whenever Ravi would get a call from a friend he would explain we were at a family wedding. Like many young people I have worked with over the years, Sophie has become part of the family. This means a lot to me, that my children never saw any of my relationships outside our blood family as a threat. On one occasion, when Lara was doing a Saturday job in a local hairdresser's this had amusing consequences. Another young woman whose own mother had died but had always seen me as another mum, had her first baby. Lara had obviously been talking to a elderly woman whose nails she was doing about this. When I arrived to collect Lara to visit Rosalyn and the baby she beamed at me "Congratulations!" she said - I asked if she thought I was a grandmother, which she did, Lara had told her her sister had just given birth. I tried to explain that Rosalyn wasn't my real daughter, I had young people across Bedford who regarded me as a second mum, but the poor woman became more confused, "so is Lara your real daughter?" she asked!

So Sophie's wedding was a great blessing to me and a reminder of why I regard youth work as so important. She had a very difficult time during her teenage years, but my commitment to her was never based on "targets" and didn't evaporate when she moved away and I changed jobs. In the sixteen years I have known her there have been times when she has needed my support on a daily basis, then there have been months when we haven't spoken.

She has met and married a lovely young man and I find myself feeling rather like the contented mother that she is settled and secure and embarking upon a wonderful future with him. And she is a reminder to me that there are so many young people out there who, with the right support and encouragement, at the right time, will overcome any challenge. Certainly a great excuse to dance!

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