Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

Dear Paul

on October 23, 2016

A note from John tonight, written to Paul Daugherty.  Paul’s writing can be found at http://www.pdaugherty.com/.  His daughter, Jillian, and her husband just celebrated their first anniversary.

Dear Paul,

There’s a small moment I remember from my daughter’s birth.  My wife’s doctor was meeting with us a few hours after Tessa was born.  He was actually very reassuring in telling us that we could be optimistic about Tessa’s life and as he put it, “things are different for kids like this than they were years ago.”  I remember nodding in agreement without really agreeing; the feeling of uncertainty in my heart still unmoving.  At the end of our meeting he looked at me and and joked to ease the tension:

“Two daughters, huh?”


He smiled.  “Two weddings then.”

“Yeah…I suppose”

My voice said one thing, but my heart said another.  Wedding? Tessa? Are you kidding? I was a bit put off by what I felt to be his ignorance and nonchalance in the matter.  Tessa wasn’t getting married.  

Well…as it turns out he wasn’t the one who was ignorant, it was me.  

I recently was given your book, An Uncomplicated Life, as a gift from my wife.  As I read it, I was struck by the parallels of our experiences. You were able to articulate much of what I felt when Tessa was born.  It was reassuring to know the thoughts I had, the fears I experienced, were not uncommon.  But, the longer I read, the more the tone of my thoughts changed from empathy to joy.  I was able to journey along with your family through school, relationships, college, even living independently.  Everything I read revised my expectations.  Your life with your daughter was filled with challenges and joy…which really is the same as any child isn’t it?  It was enlightening to realize what I had in store in the future.  As I read I became excited to watch Tessa grow, to cherish what the 47th chromosome adds to our lives, and to eventually let her go and join the world, just as you did with Jillian.  

As I come full circle here, I realize my vision for Tessa’s future in the beginning was short sighted.  I just didn’t know and at that point, I couldn’t see beyond my fear.  As my daughter is three now, she has changed that vision.  At such a young age she has taught me that the only limits that exist are the ones we set for ourselves.  Your story has validated this attitude and for that I appreciate you taking time to share your story with all of us.  I guess there’s only one takeaway:  I better be prepared emotionally for two weddings. 🙂





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