Tuesday, 10 July 2012


My daughter used to wear a cast covering her torso. She had a series of moulded, rigid body braces, which attempted to slow down the curvature of her spine.

But the scoliosis got to the stage when it could be alleviated no longer, and the huge spinal op that doctors had been putting off finally went ahead. The cast was replaced by some titanium scaffolding inside, and the body armour was thrown on the scrapheap.

But she was encased, night and day, for nearly a decade. 

Sometimes I feel constricted, too. Having a daughter with a disability that you cannot change, a condition you cannot cure, a hunger you cannot satisfy, is a different kind of straitjacket. You can battle, and struggle, and fight, and the straps only tighten. It's not always easy to breathe.

But sometimes I escape. When she achieves things I never thought possible, when she surprises me with her thoughtfulness or humour, and when she is purely, uncomplicatedly happy, I can feel the clasps unlocking and the straps loosening.

She’s in a school production at the end of the week. She’s helped me do a Houdini again.

Video is The Kinks - Set Me Free

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  1. Good luck with the production! I can imagine it will be an amazing feeling to see your daughter on stage.

  2. You pushy showbiz mother, you!