One way to share with you the motivation behind WILingness is a moment in time when my daughter, Elizabeth, looked over my shoulder. I was typing a story into Wilingness.com. She said, “A whole page dedicated to Wil. I’m sure he gives you lots of material!” She laughed and rolled her eyes at the same time.
“Haha, you know he does!” That laugh and roll of the eyes spoke of Wil’s almost 12 years in just one moment. “It is both a challenging and very joyful experience. But that’s the point of really living, isn’t it? Wil lives out loud. It’s funny, as people get older, and supposedly smarter, we seem to close ourselves off to living out loud. We get set in our ways and our beliefs. Wil broke me of that, Elizabeth, and thank goodness. I think everyone needs those wake-up calls in life to shake them out of their set ways. He shakes things up and makes me look at daily experiences in a new way almost every, single day. Do you remember how I called something ‘weird’ the other day? Then you corrected me and said I should use the word ‘different’ instead. I really appreciated that. You said what may be weird to me may not be weird to someone else. It was just their way of doing something that was different from mine. Well, that’s kind of the point with sharing these WILingness stories. There is a lot of fear surrounding Down syndrome. Even though in a lot of ways Wil is the same, people fear what is different. And it’s not because it’s bad, it’s just because they don’t understand it. By sharing these stories, I hope to bring some understanding. And more than that, open minds to fully embrace Down syndrome. The way Wil lives is very freeing and invigorating. Something a lot of us adults could learn from. This blog is in big part what Wil stands for. Think of the kids in school. They all love Wil because he doesn’t judge them. No matter who they are, he will readily give them a great, big bear hug just because he loves them for who they are. Or how we all know when Wil eats a chocolate donut he says “mmmmmm” out loud with every single bite. It makes it so much more fun to have a donut with him. Or how he stopped in the headphone aisle at Target, put a pair of headphones on and danced to the music. He can make any kind of experience fun, no matter where we are. But as adults we get so used to things and so get bored with life. We get set in our ways and our beliefs, and life gets kind of dull. Wil never, ever gets bored. And he never, ever lets life get dull. If he can do that, then can’t we all do the same in our own way? Wil gives us permission to be free, to have fun, to be who we are in our essence. The irony is, many of us fear Down syndrome, when I think what we really fear is letting ourselves be exactly who we are.”