It’s something that we enjoyed before Freddie came along, and it’s something we’ve continued to enjoy since. He’s generally pretty chilled out on a flight so long as he’s occupied, and despite his pale blonde hair and blue eyes, sofar he’s coped with heat.
When a baby is first diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome, the parents are often given a copy of an article entitled: ‘Welcome to Holland’. It compares finding out your child has DS to boarding a flight for a trip to Italy, that you’ve been planning for years, only to be told that you will be going to Holland instead. It reassures the parents that, though Holland’s charms are different to those of Italy, they are charms nonetheless. Before Freddie was born, those who flattered themselves that they were in the know about DS, made out we wouldn’t even get as far as Holland – we’d find ourselves in Jaywick on a wet Monday afternoon.
We didn’t end up in Jaywick, or in Holland. We’re in Italy after all. Not perhaps the bustling, cosmopolitan streets of Rome, or among the chic boutiques of Milan: we’re out in the country. The food tastes just as good, the sun is just as warm, and we can still enjoy a glass of red wine out on the terrace; the pace of life is a little slower, that’s all. But it gives us time to appreciate the vineyards and olive groves, and the shimmering summer air.