Because sunflowers have been my absolute favorite for as long as I can remember, they are always my sweet hubby’s go-to “just because” bouquet. Each individual, bright, yellow bloom seems to just always make any space brighter. Yes, sunflowers and sunshine are always a must for the Cooper Cottage. Some days before the sun is even up, I visit each window and open the blinds before heading into the kitchen excited for my morning coffee and time in the Word. Throughout the day, I find myself anticipating the variety of ways that the sun will distribute itself throughout our “Peace Place”. Even on rainy days, the light of the day seems to just always give our home hope, reminding us that each day is a new day full of new mercies and even greater JOY.
“Enjoys interacting with others. Loves music.” – words beside the face of a sweet baby boy with the biggest brown eyes. Loves people and music?! Jared and I knew almost instantly that we were looking at the face of OUR baby boy. It was after yet another phone call with 1 of our 2 social workers that we learned that this little boy was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome. We were both unfamiliar with the disorder, so we immediately started to do research and confide in family and close friends, especially those who serve and are also parents to children with special needs. The day we received his file, I immediately texted my sister and asked her to meet me at the nearest Starbucks. As I sat across from her, she sipped her coffee anticipating a picture of the little one that would make her Aunt Mal Mal. When I showed her his picture, she smiled so big as even bigger tears began to fall from both of our eyes. I then went on to tell her more about him and his diagnosis. Being in the speech and language pathology field, I was interested to know if she knew much about WS. When I told her, she simply responded with the words… “eternally sunny”, which is how one of her professors defined WS, and she had never forgotten it.
“Approximately one in every 10,000 people worldwide lives with Williams syndrome, according to the Williams Syndrome Association. The rare genetic condition is characterized by learning difficulties and developmental delays as well as medical complications like cardiovascular disease. But people with the condition also tend to be highly social, kindhearted and have affinities for language and music.” according to Rachel Kassenbrock who goes on to share what families and individuals living with WS really want others to know.
- “Individuals with Williams syndrome can teach us all that despite their struggles, they manage to smile and enjoy life. [That’s] something a lot of people forget. People with Williams syndrome have the most contagious smile and a zest for life that most people lack.” — Sylvia Navarro
- “You will never meet another person like someone with Williams syndrome. [These people] are… the brightest souls on earth with the biggest hearts.” — Tammy Barry
- “Not all individuals with Williams syndrome are the same. They are all unique and have a wide range of abilities. Their personalities and behavior vary.” — Jessica Fountain Peterson
- “The sunshine and sincere, genuine love for life and for people that radiate in individuals with Williams syndrome is indescribable.” — Erin Kaplan Rupolo
- “The most difficult challenges will be far outmatched by the greatest rewards they bring into your life. Every accomplishment and milestone is met with immeasurable joy that you would never experience with anyone else. They will surprise you with their love, generosity and happiness when you least expect it, and you will be infected by it.” — Richard A Williams Jr.
- “My son has such a true deep love for people, sometimes after only knowing them a few minutes. I wish more ‘typically developing’ people were the same. Can you imagine the peace and joy that would fill the world?” — Maggie Garrison
- “Williams syndrome is a complex collection of heartbreak, heart-busting joy, extreme physical and cognitive challenges and amazing talent. [People with Williams syndrome are] extraordinary human beings with such profound capacity to love and ability to express happiness that the strangers around them often stop in their tracks and smile.” — Nancy Paslay
- “[Many people with Williams syndrome] have great memory skills, crave and excel with a set routine, love any and all get togethers because it nurtures their huge social side. The world is a much better place because of them.” — Marianne Mepham Newton
- “Don’t think [Williams syndrome] is the end of the world. It’s the beginning of a long adventure.” — Delores Carr
“You are My Sunshine” and “Can’t Stop the Feeling” have become tunes daily sang and danced to around the Cooper Cottage as we continue to be so humbled and honored to have the privilege of stewarding this sweet soul, that he may experience the glory and unconditional love of our Heavenly Father who knit him together, fearfully and wonderfully. Our God has always known him and sees him even now. He is sovereign over our sweet boy’s little life as he continues to orchestrate all things for his good and his glory. My sweet, little sunshine, you were wished for, longed for, prayed for and wanted.
“You have given me a greater JOY…” Psalm 4:7
BY MORGAN COOPER