All the clothes have been labelled and logged, and I have managed to find all the things she needs for college. Are we excited? Hayley certainly is, but we have mixed emotions.
We were reminiscing that it was twenty years ago this week that we first found out that Hayley was going to be born with Down's Syndrome. It's quite incredible that our full time care has now come to an end and we are handing her over to others to have the main input into her life.
Friday night we had a leaving party for her. We couldn't get away with not having one. Hayley loves being the centre of attention and she loves to party. In fact she has been going on about it ever since she went to Dilston for her assessment week last July! So obsessed has she been that in the recent European Elections she was really disappointed that there wasn't a Leaving Party to vote for!
It was great to have friends and family around to celebrate this next stage of Hayley's life and it made me realise what an impact she has had on so many people. Her loving and accepting nature really does make people feel good about themselves and they warm to her really quickly. I often wonder what life would be like if we were all as uncomplicated in our relationships with others. She enjoyed all the fuss and attention but suddenly realised that life would never be the same again. Becoming a bit quiet and tearful, she admitted that she was going to miss us all a lot.
This summer has been a catalyst in Hayley's life. She has developed incredibly and we have seen her change from a schoolgirl into a young and quite capable young lady. She is ready for a new challenge and more independence. Full of talk and excitement she has become such good company.
Party goers having left, as we cleared away Hayley just sat in a tired stupor. Unwilling to go to bed and let this moment go, she sat on the settee fighting off the sleepiness that was getting the better of her. We just looked on as she drifted into a short catnap before ushering her off to bed. She has always been so determined to wring out the last drop of excitement from special occasions.
One more sleep! In the morning we will be up early and on the road in time for our nine o'clock arrival at the college. Will she sleep well? I'm not sure. I hope so because she will be grumpy by the end of the day!