I was forty three when I gave birth to a gorgeous little girl. She has been such a blessing. Through my first marriage I had several years of fertility treatment and was lucky enough to give birth to a wonderful son. Sixteen years later, I thought I was going through the menopause and had no idea I was pregnant. I should have known as I had all the classic signs, went off coffee, and had a desperate craving for fish, but with my history it never occurred to me.
Anyway my bonus in life arrived at the end of April almost 23 years ago. The professionals having frightened me to death, telling me I had to prepare for the fact that she may well be disabled.
It was because of her that I started the charity. I thought about what I would want for her as she grew up, and realised that there was little or no opportunities for people with disabilities.
This little girl, has grown into a fantastic adult, with the most amazing voice.
We first noticed her love of music when we were watching a concert by Pavarotti on the TV and we observed our eight month old trying to sing along with him.
Life has not been easy for her, having older parents. All her siblings were much older and she found it hard to relate to children of her own age. Unlike my grandchildren she was not very good at dance or gymnastics. However she immersed herself in music.
Being good at sports is a very visible thing, you either are or you aren’t. If you are the fastest, you win the race. However many people think they can sing, music and singing is very subjective, and can lead to a lot of unkindness and jealousy.
But her voice and her singing ability has opened my mind to so many things. Before I had her I was the least musical person you could meet. Although she says it was me that gave her her love of singing as I would have to sing to her to get her to sleep. She doesn’t like my singing now though!
Yes I am that Mother that sits in the audience at her concerts with tears streaming down my face.
She has always had this ability to make me cry. It can get very embarrassing at times.
I am not the only person she has made cry, I have often glanced round the audience to see others visibly moved.
For the last two and a half years she has been studying music and philosophy at the University of Nottingham. (My teaching certificate was from Eaton Hall College a subsidiary of Uni of Nottingham and it was only recently that we both realised the connection.)
During this time she has had many opportunities to perform. She sang in Nottingham Cathedral, Derby Cathedral, she was the soloist with the University Philharmonic Orchestra last year, and has performed in annual Zarzuelas (these are traditional Spanish Operas which have political and social comments of the time) in collaboration with the Spanish department. She has also performed in lunch time concerts in the Djanogly Hall.
Just after we get back from the relaunch of the Independence I will be in the audience when she performs her final recital. This will be a bitter sweet moment as she completes her degree.