The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

Is there a word for that feeling?

For Christmas, we bought Meg a Hudl - a sort of downmarket iPad - which she seems to mostly use for watching old episodes of Strictly Come Dancing.

With this new way of accessing the Internet, her big sister helped her set up a new email address, and one of the first things Meg did was send me an email.

It never arrived.

I meant to look into it, but was distracted, then forgot, until yesterday when she mentioned it again.

So I sat with her as she opened up her email account and I told her to go to the Sent folder and find the email. I then got her to pull up the properties to see what email address she had used. Although my name is not too long, it's easy enough to put a couple of letters the wrong was round. However, it wasn't any strange combination of Kim and Ayres, instead she'd sent it to:

I experienced a really strange mixed emotional response. The feeling was so unusual I'm not sure I've actually had it before so it's a little difficult to describe.

On the one hand it seemed incredibly cute, but at the same time, Meg will be 18 in a few weeks.

Me and Meg last year on her 17th birthday

There are so many times I forget she has Down's Syndrome. Of course it's a part of who she it, but it's not the defining part by a long way. Every day I interact with my daughter on so many different levels where the DS is completely irrelevant. Meg is, first and foremost, Meg.

There are many times I love the quirky way Meg can see the world, but every now and then I'm reminded that part of it is due to a lack of understanding.

It was the most strange of feelings, but I have no idea if there's a simple word to describe it.

Any suggestions?


hope said...

Gently explain how e-mail works, so she has knowledge. Then give her a huge hug...because you're her Dad. :)

Sometimes it really is the quiet, simple moments in which we learn the most. Lessons in small doses, encouragement so she can make as many decisions as possible safe in the knowledge that you will guide her without judgment. I really believe that's the kindest thing we can do for each other: quietly acknowledge limits without killing hope with only harsh fact. Just a thought.

Carole Morden said...

Of course the one word to explain Meg is Brilliant. She knows you are bigger than the internet, bigger than Kim Ayers, bigger than her diagnosis. You are Dad. And it is as clear as crystal water to her. That is her one word.

Which you didn't ask for. I think you asked for a word describing your feelings. I don't know but I would treasure that email for eternity and then some, because I am a sap that way.

Pat said...

I relate to what I think Meg may feel because I feel it myself. No matter where Dad is - he's somewhere out there watching over me. You are the lucky one.

Robin said...

I think this is precious. Most days I wish we could all see the world through their eyes ( your daughter and my daughter too ). Simple, beautiful and non-judgmental.

Laura Perez said...

Tenderness - Love + Pride + Concern. I was Meg's teacher at High School for a year. It was a privilege to teach such an amazing young person.

Hindsfeet said...


In the truest, deepest, most gut-wrenching sense.

Kim Ayres said...

Hope - there are some things you can explain and she will get; some things she will get eventually; and some things she will never get - and it's the things in this last category that occasionally catch me off guard, even after 18 years

Carole - we're all saps when it comes to our kids, and grandkids :)

Pat - I never doubt how lucky I am :)

Robin - there's no doubt she's very good at pulling me back to understanding what's really important in life :)

Laura - Meg remembers you teaching her science and says hello :)

Liz - love's not an entirely new emotion to me, but I know what you mean :)

neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

It's love, Kim. Pure and simple.

We think of love as being a happy feeling but the truth is, it's richer and more layered than we can ever imagine.

Kim Ayres said...

Neena - love is in there, of course, but it's also a mix of concern, fear and protection

neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

All of which mean love, Kim :-)

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