An Uncomplicated Life
A father's exhilarating and inspiring love letter to his daughter with Down syndrome, whose vibrant and infectious approach can teach us all how to live a little better
"Jillian was born October 17, 1989. It was the last bad day."
Jillian Daugherty was born with Down syndrome. The day her parents, Paul and Kerry, brought her home from the hospital, they were flooded with worry and uncertainty, but also with overwhelming love, which they channeled to "the job of building the better Jillian." They knew their daughter had special needs, but they refused to have her grow up needy. They were resolved that Jillian's potential would not be limited by preconceptions of who she was or what she could be.
In this charming and often heart-stirring book, Paul tells stories about Jillian making her way through the world of her backyard and neighborhood, going to school in a "normal" classroom, learning to play soccer and ride a bike. As she grows older, he traces her journey to find happiness and purpose in her adult life, including vignettes about her inspiring triumphs and the guardian angels—teachers, neighbors, friends—who believed in Jillian and helped her become the exceptional young woman she is today.
In An Uncomplicated Life, the parent learns as much about life from the child as the child does from the parent. Being with Jillian, Paul discovered the importance of every moment and the power of the human spirit—how we are each put here to benefit the other. Through her unmitigated love for others, her sparkling charisma, and her boundless capacity for joy, Jillian has inspired those around her to live better and more fully. As Paul writes, "Jillian is a soul map of our best intentions," a model of grace, happiness, and infectious enthusiasm. She embraces all that she is, all that she has—"I love my life. I just love my life," she says.
In her uncomplicated life, we see the possibility, the hope, and the beauty of our own.