Ever since my friend, Rebecca had been matched with her guide dog we have been trying to meet up. Following on from Fred’s visit to the guide dog breeding centre, he was very keen to meet Flora. The day arrived; we were London bound to meet my ‘original’ mummy friend and children aka the Bloomsbury Babes. It was one of those days where you get four seasons weather in one hour. Flora was nervous at the thunder, Fred waited patiently eating ice cream. The kids didn’t mind they were dancing in the paddling pool in the rain, remaking those memories they shared as babies and toddlers. We were remembering how many buggy circuits of the square it took to get them asleep before we could grab a coffee and a donut from Pat Val. Laughing at ‘nibble gate’ when Eva used to bite Buster.
Once Flora was more settled, Rebecca explained that only herself and Fred could hold the harness, he felt very lucky and proud. Seemingly accepting that some people, like himself may need a bit of help to get around. He remembered and told Rebecca about how Tilly had guided him around the obstacles. Then they were off, treading the same paths around Coram fields that we had as new mums and toddlers four years ago. I was instantly reminded of an image of Fred bum shuffling around Coram. He was a very proficient bum shuffler, not walking until 2 years 3 months and at one point was going through a pair of trousers a week. It was a big and still is a worry how Fred will get around independently as he gets older. He found a way then and he is finding his way now. It was wonderful to see them all walk so confidently with Rebecca’s constant praise and guidance to Flora and Fred. Yes contrary to popular belief the handler does take the lead.
I stand and stare. I remember those key moments shared with my friends, becoming pregnant, carrying Fred in a sling as a baby, the six week check, the tests, the diagnosis, the tears, the shock, grief, uncertainty and the support of my friends throughout this journey. As Rebecca , Fred and Flora walk into the distance, I smile, I realise that things are going to be OK. With friends and the right support Fred will find his own way. So will I. Thank you Flora it was a pleasure to meet you. Good luck in your new home.