Holly was born with Down syndrome and with a hole in her heart — every night was a night of wondering if she was going to be alive the next morning because of her constant heart failure — never did I dream she would not only get stronger physically but she would become independent enough to live with the love of her life!
Follow the challenges, love and joy of a mother and daughter’s journey through life in the touching tale ‘Holly’. And today, I’ve been lucky enough to chat with Dixie James, the author and mother is this autobiographical tale of raising a child with Down’s Syndrome. Dixie, thank you so much for taking a little time out of your life to chat with me today, about your life with Holly and how you turned it into a book. First things first, what inspired you to turn your shared life into a book?
HOLLY began with wanting to write a book about my daughter and myself—we were growing and changing together—as Holly grew in her many challenges, I grew in wanting to do more—why not! If Holly could make great milestones, why couldn’t I in my own life? Holly, my daughter and I began writing this book together, charting our milestones along the way, from the beginning of her life to where she is now–45 years old!
That’s awesome! Now, we can’t talk about all of those milestones today because I think we’d be here all day, but can you share a little about the important experiences that ended up in these pages?
I drew on my life—thinking about the changes Holly will be making on my life—what did I want here to be able to do? How can I make the fact of having a child with Down syndrome not “interrupt” my life—-I knew I had to work towards making her as independent as possible—just do it! Get involved! I went back to college and became a special education teacher and thought I am going to use every skill I have to make her able to live independently and teach her to take the bus to a job she would someday hold. That’s just what I did—-just do it!
*Laughs* There’s a lot of wisdom in that Nike slogan! And I’m glad you just did it because I think it’s very important for dedicated parents like yourself to share their stories, and the stories of the people around them in this case. Are the people in this book all autobiographical?
Yes, the people are the ones who Holly went to school with and who she met—those people played a teaching and loving role in her life that led to Holly “marrying”.
I’m sure the people who were playing a teaching role in Holly’s life also helped you learn a thing or two. Looking back over your journey, what do you feel you learnt as both the book and journey progressed?
Tracking the milestones of Holly and realizing how incredible she is and how able she is, along with the adventures she was creating for me—I was learning about how tough I was in trying new things in my life, like open water swimming and mountain climbing and weight training!
Wow! You’ve both been busy! With so many adventures to remember and share, what did you find yourself thinking about as you wrote?
I looked at the people and imagine what kind of lives they’ve lived and what could be ahead for them.
Did you find these thoughts energised how you approached your writing?
Yes, it absolutely energizes me—I enjoy seeing the end result of looking back and seeing what it is that I have learned and accomplished, both for Holly and myself.
When you think about what you both learned and accomplished, what idea stays in your head as the central idea you want readers to take away with them?
What can be the biggest fear and challenge can become the best thing that ever happens in your life–I am so much “bigger” in life because of my daughter and I feel she has reached all of her possibilities because we “worked out” together—making life goals and getting them accomplished—-one step at a time.
I know that you’re very much into achieving those life goals, so what’s the next writing goals that you’re currently working on?
I am working on making a speech I will be giving at my bodybuilding event, as I compete in Ms Physique and Ms Sport model.
Those are fantastic goals! Good luck with your speech I hope it goes well, and I wish you luck with your modelling events. As you’re working on this speech, do you feel that your voice as an author has improved as a result of writing a book?
Yes, I feel I am a better listener—I like hearing other people’s stories–I learn more if I am a better listener.
Have your experiences becoming a better listener sparked an interest for you to keep writing and adding to your author brand?
No — just this one book written by my daughter and me will be enough for me, as it is the journey that I am interested in and we have taken that journey.
And I and the readers are so glad you’ve shared this journey with us. Would you have been the same person if you had not taken that journey, and had not had Holly?
No—absolutely not—I am better educated, more sure of myself, have covered so many adventures that I would not have thought about the possibilities of achieving them. I thank Holly for making me try harder, thus making my life BIGGER!
And by sharing your story you’ve made all of our lives bigger as well! Dixie, thanks so much for sharing your journey, and I’d encourage everyone to go pick up a copy of ‘Holly’ and read about awesome potential being reached!
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘Holly ( ASIN: B07G5LMR9B )‘.
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