In 2018, Quarriers Aberdeenshire Carers Support Service teamed up with Aberdeenshire Council to run its first poetry and photography competition for carers. Carers were encouraged to write poems and take photographs on all aspects of caring – the joys, challenges and complex emotions that come with being a carer.
Quarriers was keen to run a creative competition to give carers the chance to express themselves and take some time out and do an activity they enjoy. As the standard of entries was so high, the winning entries were displayed at local libraries and also featured in a booklet which was distributed in collaboration with Aberdeenshire Mobile Library during Carers Week in June 2018.
Acceptance by Carol Smith
I cannot have the things the adverts show me,
the perfect life, the perfect family.
The lifestyle holidays with flights and cruises,
the mob of grandchildren sat by my knee.
But this I know, I have some glorious memories,
of happy times, and rainbows through the cloud,
and that I’ve grown in sunshine and in shadow,
and that sometimes, my strength has really made me proud.
I cannot be that super, superwoman,
who cooks five courses, with Nigella’s flair,
who has a dust free house and shining windows,
who has fine matching china and cookware.
But this I know, there’s tunes upon the radio,
that I can dance to by the kitchen sink,
and as the dogs join in and do the cha-cha-cha,
there’s eggs on toast to eat and mugs of tea to drink.
I cannot be spontaneous and impulsive,
for I must pause, and think of others first.
Of what is best and in our zone of comfort
and of the course of action that’s least worst.
But this I know, I have my friends and family.
I can escape, to mountains and to sea.
That I can open up my stash of crafty stuff,
and for a while, make something crazy just for me.
I cannot shirk the challenges of caring,
the great frustrations and bureaucracy.
The endless forms and further endless questions,
that feeling things are not how they should be.
But this I know, there’s Quarriers and Facebook.
There’s warm advice, a laugh and sharing blues.
And if that fails, there’s courage and there’s wisdom.
And if that fails, acceptance and a right good snooze.