Harper Collins published An Uncomplicated Life in March 2015. Two and a half years later, it’s back to being an Amazon #1 best seller. It was never the writing that made the book an evergreen.
It was the subject.
It was the message.
Expect Don’t Accept. See, Don’t Look. Seize the Day, Live in the Moment. We’ve delivered the same message to corporate execs where we live, in Cincinnati — who were interested in hiring people with disabilities — because it’s hopeful, universal and timeless.
Allow Jillian to define Jillian, same as you would your “typical” children.
Let her explore, take chances, live fully. She deserves that. Everyone does.
Relish her wins, delight in her spirit. Allow her to teach you a little about what really counts.
All Kerry and I have ever done for our daughter born with Down syndrome has been to give her the same opportunities her brother got. Jillian did the rest.
She’s not some superkid dynamo. She just seized chances. There is no reason any other kid can’t do what she and her husband Ryan have done.
A quick update:
Jillian and Ryan celebrated their 2nd wedding anniversary in June. They live fully independently in a two-bedroom townhouse for which they pay all the rent. (Yay!) Jillian works two jobs, the first as an assistant to the athletic director at Northern Kentucky University, where she attended college, the second as a teacher’s assistant at our local elementary school. Jillian reads to the kids, helps them with math, plays basketball with them at recess. It has been a big success and we’re striving to get her a full-time job in the school district.
Jillian and Ryan also have a dog, Gracie. They shop for groceries, cook their own meals, do the laundry, clean house etc. Everything the rest of us do.
The process was complicated. The results were not. Jillian and Ryan really worry about one thing: Whom they love and who loves them. The rest is noise.
After all this time, Jillian and I (and sometimes my wife, Kerry) are still making the rounds, locally and nationally, speaking about her uncomplicated life. We’re in Connecticut in November, at that state’s Down Syndrome Congress’ convention. Later that month, we speak on Long Island, to a similar group.
In the past two years, we’ve been to Minneapolis, Charlotte, Washington, DC twice, suburban NYC, Kansas City, Delaware and suburban Philadelphia. We never run out of inspiration, or those who seek it. We’d love to share the journey with you.
Meantime, thanks to everyone who has collaborated to make An Uncomplicated Life a success. We’re flattered, humbled and grateful.
FB: Paul Daugherty or pauldaughertywriter