Paul’s letter has been shared by thousands of readers. [Photo: Uncomplicated.life]
A dad has written a beautiful open letter to his daughter with Down’s syndrome, on the same day she tied the knot with her boyfriend of 10 years.
The moving letter was written by Paul Daugherty, a sports columnist for the Cincinnati Enquirer and the author of An Uncomplicated Life – a memoir about raising his daughter Jillian.
In the letter, published on The Mighty, Paul writes of 25-year-old Jillian’s achievements as a woman with Down’s syndrome and how he feels “bliss” at how happy he knows his daughter is.
Jillian married her boyfriend of 10 years this summer. [Photo: Uncomplicated.life]
“It is the afternoon of your wedding. June 27, 2015,” the letter begins. “In two hours, you will take the walk of a lifetime, a stroll made more memorable by what you’ve achieved to get to this day. 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.
Paul writes that he has “everything and nothing” to tell his daughter, explaining that he never worried about what Jillian would achieve academically, but instead that other children wouldn’t like her.
“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’.
“We all wish the same things for our children. Health, happiness and a keen ability to engage and enjoy the world are not only the province of typical kids. Their pursuit is every child’s birthright. I worried about your pursuit, Jillian.”
Cracked open the tissues yet? [Photo: Uncomplicated.life]
But Paul needn’t have worried, continuing to explain that Jillian has always been a “natural when it comes to socialising”.
“You’re the nicest person I know,” reads the letter. “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.
“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. It’s a new challenge, but it’s no more daunting for you than anyone else. Given who you are, it might be less so. Happiness comes easily to you. As does your ability to make happiness for others.”
Paul explains that he published the letter to give hope to other parents facing a Down’s syndrome diagnosis.