To My Daughter With Down Syndrome On Her Wedding Day, Love Dad.
He is sharing his thoughts with the world to give hope to other parents of children with Down syndrome
Paul Daugherty is a well known sports columnist for the Cincinnati Enquirer. He's also the author of An Uncomplicated Life, a memoir about raising his daughter Jillian.
In a letter to her, he describes how beautiful his daughter looked on her June wedding day to Ryan Mavriplis, as well as what a wonderful moment it was for him as parent:
"You are upstairs now, making final preparations with your mom and bridesmaids. Your hair is coiled perfectly above your slender neck. Your bejeweled dress – “my bling,” you called it – attracts every glimmer of late afternoon sunshine pouring through the window. Your makeup – that red lipstick! – somehow improves upon a beauty that has grown since the day you were born. Your smile is blooming and everlasting.
I am outside, beneath the window, staring up. We live for moments such as these, when hopes and dreams intersect at a sweet spot in time. When everything we’ve always imagined arrives and assumes a perfect clarity. Bliss is possible. I know this now, standing beneath that window."
Paul and his wife were always nervous about what their daughter Jillian’s social life would be like when she grew up.
“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?” he wrote.
“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,’” he recalled.
But Dad need not have worried. Jillian transformed into a social butterfly in school, making friends everywhere she went. Jillian was asked to the homecoming dance by the man who would one day become her husband. She excelled in college, as well.
Dad wrote the letter for his little girl to give her some wise advice about marriage before she finally walked down the aisle.
“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,” he wrote.
Now, Dad is ready to help his daughter prepare for this amazing new chapter in her life.
“I see you now. The prep work has been done, the door swings open. My little girl, all in white, crossing the threshold of yet another conquered dream. I stand breathless and transfixed, utterly in the moment. ‘You look beautiful’ is the best I can do,”
The full essay can be read here
Dad is on the far right of the picture x