Our Joshua – A Grandmother’s Perspective
By Rosemary Russell, July 2008

A couple of years ago (I was asked to write an article about my experience of our grandson, Joshua, for the SAKKS News. I didn’t – I realize now that I couldn’t because it was too soon and too hard for me. Emotionally it was like trying to hold a beautiful soap bubble in the palm of my hand.From the initial prenatal scan we had been included in Joshua’s life. The joy of his existence alongside the fear for the unknowns and what ifs of his development and survival coupled with a mother’s heartache for the dashing of her daughter’s dreams and expectations of motherhood was almost overwhelming at times. The powerlessness of seeing these wonderful parents grieving some loss already while desperately clinging to hope of misdiagnosis of any syndrome was hard to bear and all of this has taken time to handle.



Joshua is five now and he is such a large part of our hearts. The “what ifs” and “what will he be able to” have been largely replaced with the joy of seeing this beautiful uncomplicated little boy gradually unravel and overcome the bindings of physical and developmental hurdles.

My heart leaps when I see him climbing the slide or running to greet me with open arms! As I write this I find myself defrosting from the tear ducts. Joshua has taught us so much about life.   He says it exactly as he sees it – no guile, no hypocrisy.

I grieve when I see him overlooked as he struggles at times to express himself but he doesn’t grieve – he loves life!I am sometimes afraid when I wonder what the future holds for him but he loves and lives each day as it comes and he is teaching me to do the same. Joshua’s moments in the sun bathe us in light. Last Christmas he was overlooked by a probably exhausted Santa, who couldn’t really make the effort to try to understand his words. However, Joshua quickly detected an accent and clearly asked Santa whether he was Italian. Joshua then proceeded to greet him in the home tongue of his Nonna and Nonno – “Commestai,bene bene bene”!

Again, last weekend his disgust was audible as he corrected Aus Opera when Cindarella’s stepsisters were given different names to those he was used to! Our friends love Joshua stories and his beautiful Mum says there isn’t a day when he fails to make her laugh. Our admiration for our daughter and son-in-law is overwhelming – their palpable love, patience and encouragement are inspiring. This is especially so when I know that they are often exhausted and pushed. Their love and commitment have helped this wee man become such a blessing to our family.

To say we wouldn’t change a thing would be a lie – but we wouldn’t wish to change the essence of this beautiful soul. I still feel sad and frustrated when people don’t take the time to appreciate him but that’s life and we really feel that its their loss not our’s nor Joshua’s. In the meantime, every achievement Josh makes is triple joy to us all – we don’t take anything for granted and tears of joy flow more readily than tears of loss.




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