When Parker was about a month old and still in hospital, she cried and sobbed one day while visiting. I asked her why, and she said because he'd never seen a car.
When Parker was home, she very quietly asked me one night when Parker was going to die. I looked at her shocked, and asked why she would ask that- she had thought he was going to die in the hospital, and that's why he was in there so long.
When Parker does a trick, she fetches me from wherever I am in the house, along with anyone else who happens to be visiting. We all have to line up near him and wait patiently for him to do the trick again, before she lets us go on our way.
She asks to give him bottles, falls asleep with him in her arms, and the intense love when she has the first morning cuddle with him makes her grit her teeth.
I mourned on my daughter's behalf, when Parker was diagnosed with Down syndrome. I didn't know what to expect in her future. I thought maybe she would get teased, or spend her days in the playground looking after him.
Parker comes on the school pickup run and Annerley comes running up, scoops him into her arms, and off she goes again- he does the rounds to visit her 'BFFs of the day'. Only the most privileged of her friends are allowed a kiss, or, the Holy Grail- being allowed to sit on the tarmac cross legged and hold him.
This week, a boy said, 'Um, his eyes are crooked!'
2 or 3 of the BFFs swivelled and snapped around. The pack leader responds. ''Duh, errr, he has DOWN SYNDROME? Derr brain."
Educating the world, one BFF at a time. Inclusion starts small, but can spread like wildfire until all the cool kids catch it.