An Uncomplicated Life: A Father's Memoir of His Exceptional Daughter

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9780062359940: An Uncomplicated Life: A Father's Memoir of His Exceptional Daughter

A father’s exhilarating and funny love letter to his daughter with Down syndrome whose vibrant and infectious approach to life has something to teach all of us about how we can better live our own. 

Jillian Daugherty was born with Down syndrome. The day they brought her home from the hospital, her parents, Paul and Kerry, were flooded with worry and uncertainty, but also overwhelming love, which they channeled to “the job of building the better Jillian.” While their daughter had special needs, they refused to allow her to grow up needy—“Expect, Don’t Accept” became their mantra. Little did they know how ready Jillian was to meet their challenge.

Paul tells stories from Jillian’s mischievous childhood and moves to her early adulthood, tracing her journey to find happiness and purpose in her adult life, sharing endearing anecdotes as well as stories about her inspiring triumphs. Having graduated from high school and college, Jillian now works to support herself, and has met the love of her life and her husband-to-be, Ryan.

In An Uncomplicated Life, the parent learns as much about life from the child as the child does from the parent. 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. The day Jillian was born, Paul says, was the last bad day. As he lovingly writes, “Jillian is a soul map of our best intentions”—a model of grace, boundless joy, and love for all of us.

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From the Back Cover:

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.

About the Author:

Paul Daugherty has been a sports columnist for the Cincinnati Enquirer since 1994. He has covered nearly every major American sporting event, as well as five Summer Olympic Games. He is the author of Fair Game, a collection of his sports columns, and coauthor of books with Chad Johnson and Johnny Bench. He blogs daily at The Morning Line on Cincinnati.com. He lives in Loveland, Ohio, with his wife, Kerry.

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