I want to tell you about my Dad. As well as being a brilliant Dad, he is also a rather amazing Grandad.

He is fun, loud and engaging. He tells funny stories, draws pictures and basically ‘acts THEIR age!’ My eldest daughter and her cousins all adore Grandad. Age means he is less rough and tumble with them than he used to be but he still has lots of energy. He takes them places, reads stories, tickles them and cracks jokes.

But with Loulou, the relationship is different. It has to be.

We’re still getting to know and understand her ourselves and we are with her 24/7. Her personality can be allusive but it is emerging gradually, so how can he be expected to read her subtle clues? (My Dad doesn’t really do subtle!) Like us, he struggles to understand why there remains so many unanswered questions and why the doctors simply cannot tell us how Loulou will progress.

And sometimes, like many of his generation, he struggles to know the correct terminology and language to use about Loulou and her difficulties. And with her increasing weight he can’t lift and hold her like he would with his other grandchildren.

And yet, I’ve seen him gaze into her eyes and hold her hands, copy her noises, talk to her without reply and the love and connection is there. He loves her because he loves me. He wishes she could be different and things could be easier for us all but it is what it is. And I get moist-eyed when he tells me he is proud of me and my husband for how well we care for Loulou and deal with the daily challenges.

He dotes on Loulou’s big sister and I imagine he also feels sorry for her and often regrets (as I do frequently) that she can’t play with her little sister as she should be able to.

But also again there is that pride at how she behaves and cares for her little sister and is understanding, most of the time, of the situation. So Grandad, we all love you in our different ways.

Loulou may never be able to say the words but I’m certain that she feels it.

Happy Father’s Day from us all xxx

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