Tomorrow is George Will's 71st birthday and his son Jon's 40th birthday. This fact is pointed out to the public in Will's most recent column because his almost 40 year old son has Downs Syndrome and lives quite well.
As some of you may know, in our present time, 90 percent of Downs babies are aborted.
Back then, institutionalizing and sending away the baby away to be adopted were also viable options. Downs babies had an average life-span of 20 years.
Will wrote, "The day after Jon was born, a doctor told Jon’s parents that the first question for them was whether they intended to take Jon home from the hospital. Nonplussed, they said they thought that is what parents do with newborns."
Jon is George Will's first child: "The eldest of four siblings, he has seen two brothers and a sister surpass him in size, and acquire cars and college educations. He, however, with an underdeveloped entitlement mentality, has been equable about life’s sometimes careless allocation of equity. Perhaps this is partly because, given the nature of Down syndrome, neither he nor his parents have any tormenting sense of what might have been. Down syndrome did not alter the trajectory of his life; Jon was Jon from conception on."
More Will on his son: "Judging by Jon, the world would be improved by more people with Down syndrome, who are quite nice, as humans go. It is said we are all born brave, trusting and greedy, and remain greedy. People with Down syndrome must remain brave in order to navigate society’s complexities. They have no choice but to be trusting because, with limited understanding, and limited abilities to communicate misunderstanding, they, like Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” always depend on the kindness of strangers. Judging by Jon’s experience, they almost always receive it."
Read the whole thing here.
There are family pictures too; a box of tissues and confetti (to throw about after reading such awesomeness) are not included.
"This year Jon will spend his birthday where every year he spends 81 spring, summer and autumn days and evenings, at Nationals Park, in his seat behind the home team’s dugout. The Phillies will be in town, and Jon will be wishing them ruination, just another man, beer in hand, among equals in the republic of baseball."
Happy birthday to the Will men!