A mum at my daughter’s nursery school had recently had a stroke and couldn’t talk or walk very well.  She would sit at the back of the parents’ meetings and not engage with anyone. She was really closed off, her husband had to do all the talking. When I saw her on her own I made a point of going over to say hello. It took her a long time to get her words out. She‘d have to air-draw the word she wanted to say first, because visualizing it helped her to make the sound. So everything took so long and I could see it frustrated her. I’d slow right down so that she wouldn’t feel hurried. That’s all I could really give her then, was time, even if I’d been in a hurry to get home. Stepping into her shoes was like stepping into a parallel time zone and I didn’t always find it easy to make that switch after a stressful day at work and still having to get my toddler home. Over the three years our children were together we became friends. Her speech and walking improved a little – not much – but we’d have a real laugh together over things the kids said or did. I loved laughing with her like this, especially when I remembered how closed and fragile she’d been when I first met her. They moved abroad but I still think about her often. I hope she’s doing well and that people around her are taking the time.