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Walking with Arran - 214 Ups and Downs214 Ups and Downs

On 6th September 2012, Mr Arran Luca arrived and our lives changed forever.

Both Nik & I have been married before and we each have children from those relationships (a whopping 6 in total). We are what you might call a ‘Facebook’ couple; reuniting after years of little contact to find love in each other. We’d been friends since we were teenagers when we worked for a Youth for Christ theatre company in the mid 90s and got to know each other again following a couple of reunions years later.

Our first weekend away together was in The Lakes. We spent a dreamy couple of nights at The Moss Grove in Grasmere; we walked up to Easedale Tarn, ate at The Red Lion, started planning a life together and broke the bedroom door handle (although that was actually on a different visit). We were both falling head over heals already, but I remember that weekend as particularly magical; a bubble, not least because of the location.

A couple of years later, early one Thursday autumn morning, our beautiful Arran Luca arrived. One of the midwives noticed that he was somewhat swollen on one side of his head. She also noticed that the back of his neck was slightly thick set. Without giving anything away she said she needed to get a second opinion from the doctor. I remember feeling a little nervous, but Arran was perfect. He looked peaceful and handsome; chubby cheeks and slightly snooty Winston Churchill look.

The doctor appeared eventually and ‘had to agree’ with his colleague. There are a couple of indications that Arran might have Down’s Syndrome.

I don’t really know what my reaction was. I don’t remember. I remember a few tears. I remember Nik and I hugging each other.

The only way to be sure was for Arran to have a blood test and then wait a couple of weeks for the result. There was a moment where the doctor told us they were going to take Arran to another room to take some blood from him. He asked if I wanted to come along to be with Arran. I didn’t know what to say. I stood there for a few seconds, looked at Nik as if I had no clue how to do anything any more. I couldn’t make that decision. At that moment, I wasn’t sure I could make any decisions about anything.

It was, in reality just a few seconds, but after what guiltily seems like forever now, I said “I’m going, of course I’m going”. My boy needed his Daddy with him. They took the blood, and a week later we got the call.

As time goes on, I may well ramble (in the verbal sense) more about those early times, but from that moment on, I’ve wanted to do something special with Arran. Something that inspires both him and I to be the best we can be.

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214 Wainwrights seems like a big challenge right now but I’m so excited that I get the opportunity to start walking with my boy and create an amazing adventure together. We won’t do all the walks on our own, we love walking with family and friends and we want to share the experience.

Maybe some of you could come along some time?

We’re starting at that dreamy location. Tomorrow Nik, Arran and I will visit Grasmere and go for a walk. Then Arran and I will decide which hill will be number 2 of 214.

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