*Colette is mum to Katie who is 19 and has Down's syndrome.
Katie went to a national Stagecoach audition/workshop for their annual summer show today. We got to watch the performance at the end. And there was my Katie, and she did SUCH an amazing job. Ok, she was at times a little behind the beat, but at times she was dead on, and ok, she was at times a little out of tune, but at other times she was in tune.
And I looked at her brilliant smile and beautiful trusting heart that must have worked so hard to get that all together in quite a short rehearsal period, and I thought, that is still not good enough for the world. It still won't be enough to get her in. And there’s no criticism of Stagecoach here, I was really glad that they accommodated Katie. But I know that if they gave Katie a place it would be taking it away from someone else, who can perform better, more in time, more in tune.
But I just thought....wouldn't it be lovely if that wasn't how the world worked, that you weren't only accepted if you were their idea of perfect, because actually looking at her there, she was truly amazing.
She wouldn't be talking, let alone singing.
She wouldn't be walking, let alone dancing.
So, my eyes welled up and I was sad, sad about the way the world is, sad that people aren't kinder and don't value the important things. But then, with tears rolling down my cheeks, I realised that actually, that was a triumph for Katie today. She wasn't supposed to be there, she has come through three lots of open heart surgery to be standing there. If the predictions were to be believed, she wouldn't be talking, let alone singing. She wouldn't be walking, let alone dancing, with high kicks and in time (mostly) with a group of typically developing peers.
So as I stood there applauding for all I was worth, I just wanted to shout, "Just look at her though! She has Down syndrome, and LOOK at what she has just pulled off. She may not be the most perfectly timed or perfectly in tune, but look at that smile, look at that enthusiasm and tell me that is not a triumph.”