Well the day I knew was coming and dreading has happened. Mary and I have left JOG after two whole years! How are we going to cope?
We were told Mary had Downs syndrome 24 hours after she was born. Our world fell apart and I felt as if they had taken away the little girl I had and given me another one that would have a lifelong disability. Then they said it wasn’t Downs syndrome (I hasten to add here not at Epsom) it was actually Prader-Willi syndrome. “ What is that?” we asked –“ basically obese naughty children”, the consultant replied. “Great”, we thought.
We were then transferred over to the care of Dr Garcia. She told us about a playgroup in Ashtead where Grace could go and have weekly therapies. I didn’t really want to know. Now I realise it was just another stage of acceptance that Mary was a child with special needs. Little did I know that JOG would be an absolute lifeline for me and a great place for Mary to have fun whilst having regular weekly therapies.
We have met the most caring and dedicated therapists, the most amazing and strong parents and the most wonderful and beautiful children. I look back over the time we have had at JOG and reflect on all the milestones the children have achieved. The first time Amy stood still on her own, when I saw David walk into the room, Peter wearing his glasses, Andrew sitting and waiting and Jack mastering his frame – all precious moments that have brought tears to my eyes – such special memories I shall treasure forever.
We shall miss JOG dreadfully and shall be forever grateful for the most fantastic start Mary has been given to prepare her for playgroup. All I can say to the new parents starting JOG is that it may seem all rather daunting at first, but can honestly say it has been one of the best experiences of my life.
I know not all the doors will be open for Mary and that her struggles may grow as she gets older but I know the friends I have made at JOG will always be there for us – because you understand.
As we left the room for the last time, I looked around and felt so privileged to have met all these wonderful people and proud of how far Mary has come over our time at JOG. I now truly know just how precious life is and how much these little people enrich our lives.
Thankfully, due to the organisation of the new coffee mornings, I can say with relief – “see you soon!” – instead of “goodbye”….