Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Daddy's Love

Brand New
First Meeting

When I met my husband 7 years ago, I was a divorced 34 year old mother with 7 children aged between 5-15 years old. Any eligible man's dream hey? He, on the other hand, was a 26 year old guy with nothing more to worry about than going to work each day and looking after his two cats. Not exactly a perfect match you would think!

So Much Love
Within months of meeting we were inseparable. He took to being an instant Dad to 7 kids like a duck to water. Over time he formed a strong bond with all of them, and I've lost track of the times they ask to talk to Dad about things, or want him when they have hurt themselves. He tells everyone he has 8 children and when they say he doesn't look old enough he just smiles and says he looks after himself!

As I mentioned in a previous blog, my husband and I talked about the possibility of having a baby with Down Syndrome even before we decided to start trying for a baby (due to my age of 39 at the time). To this day I feel so blown away that he didn't even flinch at that possibility. In fact, his reaction was to say, "So what?" He assured me that if our baby had any kind of disability he would still be happy because it would be our baby and  it would be loved no matter what. How amazing is my man?

Love you Daddy
Mystery Solved

When we were told that it looked like Felix had Down Syndrome, it answered a question my husband had wondered about for a while. When he was at University, he did an elective on Disability Studies. He really didn't know why he chose that subject. It wasn't overly relevant to his degree, but he did it anyway and hadn't thought too much about it since. This was a few years before he and I had met and many years before we knew about Felix and his extra chromosome! When Felix was diagnosed, my husband was able to draw on the things he had learned in that one subject and gave me a few pointers too! In the big scheme of things, we think he was meant to do that subject at Uni!

Reading with Daddy
One thing he taught me was 'people-first' language. He told me how important it was to talk about people with a disability by referring to them first, not their disability. For example it's not acceptable to say, 'A Down Syndrome person'. Instead you should say, 'A person with Down Syndrome'. People with a disability should never be defined by that disability. First and foremost they are a person like you and I. It took me a while to get used to the terminology, but the great thing about having a pre-natal diagnosis of something like Down Syndrome is that you have plenty of time to learn!

New Love

Watching my husband with a little baby has been really special. I already knew that he was a great Dad and I love watching him enjoy time with the older kids; but it's been fun to watch him learn how to do things with a little one. Like most Dads, he seems to disappear whenever Felix's nappy needs changing, but when it comes to wrestling on the floor, you can't keep him away! When Felix learns something new, you can see him bursting with pride. He loves to show Felix off to people and gets excited when I bring him to visit him at work.

The look on my husband's face as he held Felix for the first time was something I will remember for the rest of my life. He didn't see the Down Syndrome. He saw his precious son. He loved him without question. He was as proud of Felix as he is of the rest of the kids.

Today Felix signed 'Daddy' for the first time. It brought tears to my eyes.

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