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Updated: Nov 17, 2023

“A young carer is someone aged 25 and under who cares for a friend or family member who, due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction, cannot cope without their support.”

We didn’t ask and we didn’t have any expectations for her to take this role, as we saw this as our responsibility as parents, not hers as a younger sister; but it’s something she has naturally chosen & taken on herself. There are times where we would expect her to do a sibling role of helping, as you would expect of any sibling, but never to the extent that she takes it & how she talks about the future, with such maturity & fact; but at the same time, we know that must overwhelm her, as in what does that future actually look like; we know this, as it overwhelms us too. She chooses to take lots on her shoulders, she has done since such a young age & often keeps it to herself; it’s possible that her friends may not even be aware of this, as she just sees it as her norm. We do our best to offload it for her, but you still worry as a parent.

I’m guilty of letting being a carer overtake my identity and life; I feel I owe that to Rio for his right to live a full life; but I am well aware that the extent I take it, it’s not healthy for me, but a chosen sacrifice. I don’t want Tia to follow my path; I respect her choice of how much she wants to be part of Rio’s world; she’s an incredible special soul, but I also don’t want her to loose her own identity, I want her to find the balance I never did. It makes me protective of her.

When she chose triathlon as her sport, it was wonderful to see her embracing racing with Rio with inclusion, I have been so proud of her; but what has made me even more proud, is her control of letting us know clearly that she will be equally racing solo - for herself and her own goals. I know when she trains, it’s a big release for her mentally; she needs it.

To watch her race with Rio fills me with love & respect, but to see her race solo also fills me with something more; it makes me breath with inspiration. An inspiration that others may not comprehend - it’s not for how well she does but WHY she does it - I need to learn from her.

The past weekend she raced solo at Dubai Women’s Triathlon by Dubai Sports Council . She did amazing, 5th overall, 1st out of the swim; she’s fired with exciting goals - for herself AND with Rio.

As we travel this journey as carers together, I learn from her; I’m shown her mental health is far more important than any school grades or times achieved in races or completing wild challenges; she needs her time out, to be with friends & to reset, to be able to reach her goals.

THANK YOU Little Wolf for being wiser than me, showing me the way; SO proud of you and filled with gratitude for all that you do!

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