Missing childhood


I’VE recently come to the conclusion that there’s a lot to be learnt from children.

Not naturally being a fan of the smaller of our species, this has come as quite a revelation and has been partly inspired by two of the youngsters in the pages of the Free Press this week.

Bradley Marshall and Hugo Smith have in their short lives endured more than most of us will ever have to go through.

Operations, therapy, life-saving treatment, uncertainty and pain are things that the families and the boys themselves have accepted as part of their lives.

It is certainly no exaggeration to call Hugo a ‘miracle’ child after he was born weighing less than a bag of sugar and with a condition that meant he was literally risking his life with every breath.

And yet, three-years on, here he is happily tucking into a pizza as if he’d never had a care in the world.

Bradley’s experiences with his cancer are different of course and I am not directly comparing the two boys, only to say that both seem united in their unbridled optimism and exuberance despite suffering from very serious medical conditions.

It really is quite humbling.

I thought I was the unluckiest person in the world when I recently had to visit the dentist three times in two weeks.

Now I just feel like a big wimp.

Of course, the general resilience of children - particularly the younger ones - is borne out of the fact that they don’t have the capacity to fully understand everything that is going on around them.

But that can only be a good thing if it equips them to better deal with things that might make the average adult crack up and I find myself envious of the optimism of youth and the simple, uncomplicated delights that children enjoy.

I was recently at a family party and while the adults got drunk and shared stories about their glittering (or not so glittering) careers, marriages and money, the children chased each other round the garden, terrorised the cat whenever they saw it and threw some crazy shapes on the dancefloor when the music got louder.

They had the time of their lives!

Now I’m not suggesting that we should never grow up, but I do feel that we adults sometimes get so bogged down in life’s struggles that we fail to appreciate the simple things.

I remember when seeing a rainbow was one of the most magical things in the world.

Now they barely register because I’m too preoccupied with the accompanying rain, Isn’t that sad?