So regular readers will know we have 3 lovely talented daughters and we are as proud as can be of them; not just about what they have achieved in life but also because of who they are – their funny, lovely natures. Now as you may know our eldest daughter Rebecca has Down’s syndrome. She is bright and engaging and lives independently with 3 friends, like herself, in London. She’s in her mid 40’s now but she continues to amaze, delight and frustrate us (and I dare say those supporting her!) as much as she’s always done.
We were told by some child specialist when she was very young that we’d have to get used to the fact that in terms of her mental capacity she’d probably reach peak capability around 11-12 years old then plateau, then slowly fade. Ha! In fact Becksy is really smart – she’s been to college, held down responsible jobs, is a wizard with technology, has a photographic memory and a wicked sense of humour. She’s the life and soul of any party – and boy have we had some brilliant parties over the years. One of the traits we’ve noticed in recent times is that as her housemates have become a little more docile and sedentary, especially during lockdown, Becksy has started to exert her personality by insisting on taking daily exercise, shopping independently, spending on things that matter to her etc. This had led to some interesting conversations with her carers who have an understandable worry about covid being brought into the communal home. So Carol and I have had to spend some time with her to try and ensure she acts responsibly. And she gets it on the whole doing things incredibly safely and with full concern for her personal care and that of her housemates.
She is truly independently minded and shows every evidence of continuing to grow as a person. And that makes us so proud of course. So much for that child specialist advice. She’s an inspiration to all of us but that talented independent streak of hers rubs us up a bit too sometimes. We’ve had some frank conversations about her spending and consuming habits but she is usually pretty responsive afterwards (at least for a few days). But there is another trait which tickles and disappoints us too. We tend to go and see her every week for lunch and a catch up/shopping trip. Though we have to plan it with her as she has ‘things to do’ don’t we know. A couple of weeks ago we suggested that she comes up for the weekend because it was her sister E’s birthday and we hoped to get together in some way for some eats/drinks. But she declined as it was one of her housemate’s birthdays that weekend too and she couldn’t miss that – Miss FOMO and all that. E was cool about it – we’ve all to used to her unique sense of priorities. We once went to collect her from the house to go on a long-planned trip to New York to see our kids there and she simply refused to leave the house and go with us. We never really got to the bottom of that one and it was an expensive lesson to us to get things planned out in her mind.
Yesterday we called her to say would she like us to come down this weekend? – Saturday is our usual day to visit and catch up. Er no it’s ok she replied I’ll come up on my birthday. But that’s still a few weeks away babe we said – we miss you so why can’t we come Saturday? Well I’m planning to watch The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, it’s important you know. Ah, I couldn’t help but smile. I know how we rate; we’re pretty ok as parents and a little more helpful than the people at the local shop but we clearly rank behind a member of the Greek aristocracy when it’s funeral time. Did I mention she has a bit of a morbid liking for matters concerning deaths – anniversaries, guest lists, memorial services etc. She wasn’t going to miss this one for all the tea in China, or Paul and Carol’s lunch treat.
Kids eh. Love ’em.