Tunes of the Territory

Wil had become overwhelmed and fled the situation with little warning. I chased after him and tried to get him to open up. He never did. 

Wil has grown greatly in his communication skills, and each time we go somewhere he grows in independence too. However there are multiple stops that must break way to starts. The unexpected throws Wil off and we find ourselves at a standstill. It’s all part of the territory, but at times the repeated standstills weigh on me. 

I’ve heard you need to fight for your joy. And some days I do. It seems the only way to get through at times. But whenever I take a deep breath, step back, open my eyes (and ears), I’ve found joy has a way of letting itself in.  

Last Wednesday night McKenna Marsh, a senior at Wil’s school, came over to watch Wil while Matt and I had a date night. Though we know McKenna and her family, this was the first time she would be Wil’s caregiver. Wil was very excited about this (as was I) so when McKenna arrived he ran to the door to let her in. We walked to the kitchen and started chatting. Wil’s high energy fell to silence. 

“Wil, you are very quiet. I know you are excited to spend time with McKenna. Is something on your mind?” I asked.

He tucked his head, and with a coy sideways smile at McKenna said, “I’m feeling a little bit shy.”

Joy flooded through me! Wil hadn’t retreated into deeper silence. He hadn’t run away. I hadn’t asked multiple questions to draw out his emotions. He opened up of his own will — by being a flirt! 

The next night, driving home from Special Olympics golf, with the windows down and country music blasting, Wil and I belted out the country songs at the top of our lungs. 

“Mom look!” As I rounded a curve, off to the right, hanging low over a wide-open field, the sun was an oversized fiery pink ball. Scattered clouds absorbed its color creating a brilliant sky. We fell in silent awe. 

Wil and I looked at each other with easy smiles and synchronously resumed our loud and off-pitch tunes. I never regret the weight of this territory, otherwise I may never know such heights.


Published by Christie Taylor

Christie Taylor is the creator of the website,, and author of "Stories of Wil: Puberty Part 1" ( Christie believes that if we all had the opportunity to spend a day with our loved ones with Down syndrome, many of the stereotypes and stigmas would dissipate. Christie invites you, through her stories, to spend a day with Wil. The more the merrier!

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