Molly’s Story, by her mum, Jenny
Molly was diagnosed with down syndrome the morning after she was born. When I told my parents, my dad smiled, shrugged his shoulders and said “well that doesn’t matter.” But I was filled with so many worries. I was worried about her health, how she would cope at school, if she would have friends, if she would ever be able to read well enough to enjoy a book – the list went on. But my dad was right, I didn’t have to worry, and it doesn’t matter.
Molly has taught me so much. Some quite simple things such as never, never go near her if she’s holding a hose pipe, or other things a bit more meaningful such as how to live for the moment, and appreciate the small things. She loves to laugh, and to make us laugh, and as soon as you start to get to know her, you see her cheekiness and sense of humour shining through. She loves dancing, playing board games, colouring and chocolate. She doesn’t like the rain, she hates not having control of the remote, and she won’t eat broken food (unless it’s chocolate, and then she’ll grudgingly make an exception).
Molly has taught us not to take life so seriously. We’ve recently been on holiday in the lakes. Molly went to get ready, and came down the stairs wearing an orange tutu, a colourful feather boa and a massive unicorn head. She’ll sometimes put the unicorn head on in the middle of the night – it can give you quite a shock to wake up and see a great pink unicorn towering over you.
She also used it to hide her face when she drew her glasses on with a felt tip. (She was supposed to be putting her glasses on ready to leave the house for school – at least it’s an interesting reason for being late!)Molly works to her own timetable, that doesn’t necessarily fit with everybody else’s. This can be slightly stressful if we’ve got a time limit, but Molly’s so busy living in the moment that she doesn’t care we’re going to be late. But after those frantic school mornings I drop her off, and watch her go, her massive rucksack hanging from her back. She does 2 steps forward and then a jump, then 2 more steps and a jump all the way to the steps. Then she turns round with a cheeky grin and signs “I love you, silly” before stomping up the steps and into school. I drive off with the biggest smile.
When Molly decides she wants to do something, there is no stopping her. This might be something like her dance exam. She decided she wanted to do it and practiced her dances. On the day she marched on in there, danced in front of the judge and absolutely smashed it. Or it might be something like baking a cake when actually it’s time to cook the dinner, or writing a list when we’re already late for school – whatever it is, if she really is set on something, it’s actually easier to just go with it if at all possible. Likewise getting her to do something she doesn’t want to is virtually impossible.
It took four visits to the doctors one year before we finally managed to get her flu jab done. After three outright refusals, on the final visit, she decided she was ready to have it done. She walked in as good as gold, sat down and had the spray. We’ve had similar trouble with the dreaded blood tests, but having discovered it is actually the anaesthetic spray and tourniquet that she doesn’t like, she now has it done without too much complaining. Molly still has real trouble with her speech, and finds it really difficult to explain things like this to us, and so she communicates by refusing to do something.
Molly attends mainstream school, and she works her socks off. Everything is so much harder for her, and it takes much more effort. But the pride at her achievements is immense – from starting school and making friends, going on her first residential, being in dance shows, to the effort she puts in to her speech sessions and the fact that she has survived her first half term at a massive mainstream secondary school – we are so proud of her every day. Funny, feisty and as caring as can be, life with Molly can be a bit more difficult sometimes, but it’s never boring, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.