For most parents watching your child walk down the aisle and marry the love of their life is right up there with the day they were born and their very first few steps. But when your beautiful child was born with Down syndrome it’s even more precious.
This beautiful letter from Paul Daugherty to his daughter Jillian on her wedding day is just beautiful. Proof that when there is LOVE, there are no limits.
“Dear Jillian, I don’t know what the odds are of a woman born with Down syndrome marrying the love of her life. I only know you’ve beaten them… When you were born and for years afterward, I didn’t worry for what you’d achieve academically. Your mum and I would make that happen. We’d wield the law like a cudgel if we had to. We could make teachers teach you, and we knew you’d earn the respect of your peers. What we couldn’t do was make other kids like you. Accept you, befriend you, stand with you in the vital social arena. We thought, “What’s a kid’s life if it isn’t filled with sleepovers and birthday parties and dates to the prom?” I worried about you then. I cried deep inside on the night when you were 12 and you came downstairs to declare “I don’t have any friends.”
You’re a natural when it comes to socializing. They called you The Mayor in elementary school, for your ability to engage everyone. You danced on the junior varsity dance team in high school. You spent four years attending college classes and made lifelong impressions on everyone you met. Do you remember all the stuff they said you’d never do, Jills? You wouldn’t ride a two-wheeler or play sports. You wouldn’t go to college. You certainly wouldn’t get married. Now … look at you.”
Read the rest of Paul’s letter below.
“You’re the nicest person I know. Someone who is able to live a life of empathy and sympathy and without agendas or guile, is someone we all want to know. It worked out for you, because of the person you are. I would tell you to give your fiancé, Ryan, your whole heart, but that would be stating the obvious. I would tell you to be kind to him and gentle with him. But you do that already, with everyone you know. I would wish for you a lifetime of friendship and mutual respect, but you two have been together a decade already, so the respect and friendship already are apparent. A decade ago, when a young man walked to our door wearing a suit and bearing a corsage made of cymbidium orchids said, “I’m here to take your daughter to the homecoming, sir,” every fear I ever had about your life being incomplete vanished.
Now, you and Ryan are taking a different walk together.”
(Credit: Paul Daugherty via The Mighty)