My Father Christmas

I want to tell you about my dad and Christmas. When we were little, the first sign of Christmas in our house was when dad would pack my sister and I into the car and drive down to the Christmas tree farm to pick out our tree. We ALWAYS had a real tree the smell of fresh pine still makes me think of these times. It was so exciting! We’d wander around inspecting each tree and dad would say, “We will know the right one when we see it”. He said it will have a certain glow about it and we will know that it’s ours. Round and around we wandered, nominating a tree here and there, until all 3 of us would stand in front of one glorious specimen, nodding in agreement that this was definitely The One. Of course The One would always be just a little bit too big or a little bit too expensive but dad would buy it anyway and the next Christmas tradition was watching dad explain to mum how he managed to come home with such a giant tree….AGAIN! But we loved it…and I suspect mum did too which is probably why she never came with us, lest she rain on our tree-picking parade.

As soon as we got home, the badgering would start about when can we Decorate the Tree???!! The tradition of “Decorating the Tree” could only come after the tradition of “Finding All the Decorations Which Have Somehow Moved From Where We Put Them Last Year” then the “Untangle and Work Out Which Bulb Has Blown in the Christmas Lights” tradition and there was often the “Festive Dummy-Spit” over one or more of the above traditions too!

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But once the tree was in the pot, and the lights were on….then it could begin!!! Continue reading

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Step 1: Give a Sh*t

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what it is to have a disability versus what it is to be “normal”. I guess I started to think along these lines after reading this article, by Mark Leach outlining the latest claims from the biotechnology industry to detect any deviation from “normal” in embryos in prenatal testing. I read this and thought…what template of “normal” are they going to use here? There are potentially billions and trillions of combinations in our genetic code…which one will they pick? How earth shatteringly bland is that cookie-cutter person going to be?

By society’s standards, I am “normal”. I am, however, different to you. I look different, I sound different. I had different parents and a different upbringing. I grew up in a different town, went to a different school, listened to different music, had different friends. My friends and family and past boyfriends are different, my husband is different. My hobbies are different, my interests, my dog, my house, my taste in furniture, my favourite ice cream flavour…..

My genes.

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