Thursday 14 February 2013

A letter of love to my baby girl

Today is the first anniversary of The Futures Rosie. I had wondered how best to mark the occasion. Perhaps I would write a recap of the year, highlighting the major moments? Maybe do a photo montage of the best bits? I couldn't ignore the fact it fell on Valentines Day so settled on writing a letter of love to my Budlington explaining my reasons for starting The Futures Rosie and thanking her for inspiring me to do so. I'd also like to thank each and every one of you for your continued support this past year, it really is your encouragement and willingness to share that brings the blog to the attention of those that can benefit from reading about Rosie (thinking back to myself as an anxious parent two years ago).

A letter of love to my baby girl...

Dear Rosie,

I've never been one for writing, in fact rarely do I even make time to read, but then you came along and brought out a side in me I never knew existed. Without your inspiration I would never have known this joy of being able to share my love and affection for something so pure, so innocent and so beautiful – that 'something' my dear is you. See I started writing my blog because the feelings I had when I first learned of your extra special chromosome were so very new to me, I felt a little bit frightened at times to be honest because I didn't really know anything about Down's syndrome and the special powers its given you. There were also feelings of overwhelming protection (those ones will never ever go away) and all this before I had even laid eyes on you. Then you came into my life and changed it forever and for the better too. I wanted to let others know how your extra little chromosome is nothing to be afraid of, how very precious you are, how you have this amazing ability to make everyone smile, how you have fulfilled (over and above) my dream of adding a daughter to our wonderful family.

I consider myself a very lucky Daddy – so proud I am that I sit here writing my feelings down without being afraid to tell everyone, you may learn when you're older that it's not always the easiest thing for a man to do, but with you by my side I don't really worry about that anymore. You have taught me so much about myself, brought out a confidence in me that has been hiding away for years. 

I won't ever be able to thank you enough for all you have done for me, all that you have taught and continue to teach me, BUT I can promise to do everything within my ability to raise, protect and help you realise any dreams you may have for the future. You see Rosie, contrary to what some people may think or even sometimes say, you can (and most likely will) achieve anything you want to.

All my love.
Daddy. xxx

Friday 1 February 2013

Ten Little Monkeys

It's been another busy couple of weeks since I last wrote a post, it has been 'exciting busy' though with the stand out highlight seeing Rosie doing a spot of modelling for the award winning Kids Fashion Boutique Ten Little Monkeys in Wilmslow, Cheshire. The pictures will be used on their website and possibly in-store too to help promote the new seasons range.

The whole thing came about via a Facebook comment a few months back. Emma, co-owner of Ten Little Monkey's, is an old friend of mine from school and as is so often the case these days we have kept in contact through Facebook. Emma had made a comment on a picture I posted of Bud, remarking on how beautiful she was. I returned a jokey message saying "maybe she should come and model for your shop one day :) ..." Emma responded with "yeah why not? I'm all for that!" I was taken aback a little at first and then thought about how exciting an opportunity this could really be in the promotion of inclusion and raising positive awareness. As many of you will already know this is already happening with the likes of M&S, Frugi, JoJo Maman Bebe, Boden, Next, Weird Fish, The Eden Project and Eureka Museum etc all including children with DS in their advertising and without making a big song and dance about it either which is why I take the opinion that it's genuine inclusion and not exploitation. It is a fine line granted and as a parent you ask yourself these questions over and over but I feel it is a real positive leap forward.

I was encouraged by recent conversations where I'd asked people if they had seen Seb, the little boy in the M&S Christmas advert who has Down's syndrome – many of responses were, "yes I've seen the advert but I didn't notice a boy with Down's syndrome?"... That right there is huge progress, the kind  that needs building on and I don't just mean inclusion of people with Down's syndrome I'm talking every aspect of disABILITY, we need to continue the fabulous work already being done by the likes of beautiful Natty G and the fantastic exposure and legacy left by the London Paralympics to stand a chance of permanently changing the way we as a society view disABILITY.

The shoot itself went really well, Emma made us feel instantly at ease and was so good with Rosie throughout the session, which lasted about an hour. We received the first pics a couple of days ago for us to approve and we couldn't be happier. In a couple of the shots I noticed Rosie's tongue sticking out and for a moment was foolishly concerned that this wouldn't be ideal for promoting inclusion, a little flashback to my own pre-Rosie ignorance raising its head perhaps...Anyway I mentioned it to Emma and this was her response:

"I didn't mind her tongue being out as I like that it captures her. I like all of the images and am happy to use any as it is who she is. I'm about people looking like they actually do look. For me the DS is part of what makes her her and I don't see any negative connotations to this. That said I won't use them if you don't like them but I think she looks lovely in all of them. totally your call."

I still get a bit emotional when people see Rosie for who she is and not a diagnosis and Emma's response above was no exception.

I have included the shortlist of shots below with the kind permission of Ten Little Monkeys. Please do take the time to visit their website to see their wonderful collections, Rosie's pictures will be making an appearance in the next week or so.