Tomorrow I have the honour of walking my little girl down the aisle.
True, it is only because she still needs a helping hand to walk and because her mummy will be otherwise engaged as a bridesmaid, but it’s symbolic nonetheless. Eilidh is to be Flower Girl at Auntie Carol’s wedding and I couldn’t be more proud.
I remember being upset about a week after Eilidh was born. Completely out of the blue I was in tears thinking how my daughter, because of Down’s Syndrome, would never grow up, meet someone and get married. It hit me hard and the moment has stayed with me.
As I reflect on it with hindsight, I can see that it was a manifestation of all my fears and ignorance of what DS is and how I imagined it would limit Eilidh’s life. Unable to live in the moment, my mind went into fast-forward, thinking of all the things she wouldn’t be able to do.
In a way I was wishing her life away – and at the same time feeling 30 years of future disappointment all at once as she failed to live up to a standard set of expectations. Expectations that I didn’t even really have, but that were made up by mind as it struggled to compute what was going on. By predicting the worst I was preparing and protecting myself from any future hurt.
I have never once in Rory’s six years thought about whether he will get married, be a doctor or have a family. I have savoured every moment of his short life and just try to guide him as best I can to be a good and decent young boy, without thinking much beyond the current moment. I haven’t been so fair with Eilidh.
Eilidh has so far made a mockery of any limitation I have imagined for her. I know she will continue to prove me wrong and, three years in, I now don’t really concern myself with such worries. What will be will be and I try to enjoy every moment with her (even when she is refusing to go to sleep).
Besides, and much more importantly, I’ve got a first dance with my favourite little girl to look forward to tomorrow night.
29th July 2016