|Andy and Sarah Merriman at the book launch|
'That's my boss'. The words of Sarah Merriman, who has a job in a Central London hotel, commutes to work on her own, has a boyfriend and oh yes, has Down's Syndrome.
Andy's first book about Sarah (A Minor Adjustment) was written in 1999 and now Andy, Sarah and other members of the family have written 'part two'. This one's called A Major Adjustment. The book launch was last month.
Sarah wants to work and contribute to society. I can't stop thinking of that sentence: 'That's my boss'. In sixteen years of Down's Syndrome advocacy it's the most powerful and positive thing I've heard. Too often, people like my Stan are referred to as 'heartwarming' - with the assumption that smiling and looking cute is all they need to do to have achieved something. But Andy and I want so much more for our offspring.
Tears are not enough
And then I blotted my copybook. I introduced myself to Sarah's boss, who's called Sandor, shook his hand and told him what a powerful moment it was that she was holding the book launch in her workplace. And then, rather less powerfully, I burst into tears in front of Sandor. And hugged him.
But they were tears of relief. Not everyone with Down's is going to get a job or commute on their own, but they all have ambitions and aspirations. I know that Andy's very keen to point out that it's about providing opportunities; let's see what we can all do to support people to fulfil those aspirations.
Just like Sarah has.