I have referred to how Seren (who has Down’s syndrome) has “changed me” in several of my previous blogs.  I have never put my finger on how… and now, just over 4 years down the line it is becoming clearer to me.

 

RETARD
That used to be a word I used a lot.  I can’t lie, I wont pretend I didn’t, and back then it meant nothing to me.

I wont lie about my present life either – some of my friends still use the word and I am not angry about it, nor do I correct them if they use it.  Sure, I wish they would choose something else, but that’s not because of who I have always been, it is because of who I have become.  One day, they will grow to realise the word’s consequence; how hurtful it is to use my daughter’s learning difficulty as an insult.  I don’t want to push them though, they will learn in their own time.  Just like I have done.

I have become better.  I am a better human being.

When I used the word “retard” before Seren was born, I did so naively.  I had no idea it was offensive – or at least the bit of me that thought it was an offensive term actually thought it was funny. I thought it was crass and politically incorrect, which suited me.  I liked it.  I certainly meant no offence to anyone with a learning difficulty and as I knew no one personally with any kind of learning difficulty I was exempt from the words true meaning.

Now I am better.  I feel more alive, more in touch with life.  Seren has healed me.  That shitty bit of me that liked to use words to cause offence has gone.

And even more than that.

She has made me appreciate life. She has made me love more than I ever thought possible.  She has made me strong, I certainly wasn’t before she was born.

Tonight I watched this clip and I watched it with the utmost admiration of a beautiful woman with a fantastic voice.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=733497253379403&fref=nf 

I shudder at the person I was before Seren was born and how I might have watched it back then.

Thank you Seren.  You have been the best teacher.  Your sisters and your parents will be better people because you are in our lives.

We will cherish you forever x

 

Credit of images to Lone Jensen Photography