{Sew Justine Sew} Holly’s Smile


Today we welcome Justine of Sew Justine Sew for {The Story Behind The Photo} with a beautiful story about an even more beautiful smile.


This is my daughter Holly, who happens to have Down syndrome. The picture was taken randomly one day in May last year using my iPhone and it has captured a moment that I will treasure forever.

In 2003 when Holly was born our world was rocked, not only by the arrival of a baby into our lives (how the heck did we become old enough to be parents) but by the fact that the baby we had, was not the baby we had planned for. The baby we got had Down syndrome.

Shocking as it was to realise that our child was disabled (hate that word but you know what I mean), this is not a story of despair it is simply Holly’s story.

Holly is 9 now and the main worry we have for her is around her education. She has very delayed speech and cannot be understood by everyone. Sometimes it feels like a constant battle to get access to the services she needs to help her reach her full potential an my heart breaks when I read her school report and see the level of attainment she has and the slow slow progress that she makes. It is on days like this that I look at this picture.

This gorgeous picture of my happy smiley girl lifts my heart and brings a happy tear to my eye! This is the girl who has changed my life forever, for the better. Since having her I have achieved things that I only ever dreamt of before, I’ve been back to University and re-trained as a Paediatric nurse, I’ve also reconnected with my creative side and began sewing again.

I imagine that most people think raising a child with Down syndrome is difficult but actually in all honesty it’s just a different path you’re walking. The gains our family has had from being blessed with Holly far outweigh the stressful times. I’d be a fool to deny that sometimes things aren’t hard, but aren’t they raising any child? This beautiful smiley picture made me fall in love all over again with my Holly and whenever things are tough in any area of my life, I take a long hard look at it and smile.


  • Kat G
    June 12, 2012

    Wonderful post, Justine! Thank you so much for sharing our space.

  • June 12, 2012

    she has the most beautiful smile. Bright and cheerful to lift anyone’s spirits. Thanks for sharing this lovely story. x

  • June 12, 2012

    Your daughter is beautiful and her smile radiates that and so much more. Nina xxx

  • June 21, 2012

    This picture made think of ‘The Twits’ by Roald Dahl. Now you might think thay is a strange connection to make. There is a place in the book where he says that if you think ugly thoughts you become ugly (like the dastardly Twits). Conversely, people who have beautiful, happy thoughts (as I’m sure your gorgeous innocent daughter does) they will radiate that outward no matter if they have a crooked nose or five double chins etc. Ok, please don’t think that I’m saying your daughter is ugly, because quite clearly she is not but she IS radiating that total inner beauty despite what society sees as ‘normal beauty’. I hope this makes sense and is in no way offensive. FWIW, I think might take a look at this picture when *I* need cheering up!

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