Football, in particular, Grey Cup game day, was the holy grail of all sports days in our house. Ken laying out all his gear on the bed first thing in the morning ready to choose what T-shirt, cap, jersey or BC Lion’s team swag to put on first. As league standings go, the win-loss tally determining which teams play in this final battle, BC had their share of attempts over the years. Either way, whichever logo’s showed up to play on that winters day in late November, Ken had his Lions gear at the ready.
This year Jim and I had a brilliant idea to celebrate this day, at least for a couple of hours before kick off, by having one last book signing for the year. We launched ‘Hello My Name is Ken’ a year ago! Hard to believe 12 months have passed, but as I sit and write this post on a day that brings back so many fond memories, I’m proud to say it has been a very exciting year for us as ‘Hello My Name is Ken’ made its way into many hands….and hearts. I admit that keeping up with the website, doing posts, updating social media aspects of not only launching a book but more importantly, getting the message out about Ken’s story and Ken’s Place Foundation, have been challenging tasks. However, when I reflect back on what we have been accomplishing behind the scenes in private conversations and meetings, e-mail exchanges with people from around the world, learning what avenues are interested in helping us with our story and mission, and listening to the feedback from everyone (even complete strangers), who read Ken’s story, I realize we have struck a cord. A cord that weaves through all of us and touches on our innate need for love, compassion, and kindness. A cord that connects vs separates, a cord that hears, at our deepest level, what we all want to hear. That we matter, that we belong and that we all make a difference in this world. Our world needs more love, more kindness, and more inclusion. Looking into the face of someone with Down Syndrome, especially if they are smiling or laughing, gives us all of the above. You can’t help but smile or chuckle too, even if only on the inside, which touches that cord just the same.
I will be writing our Annual Report for Ken’s Place in the next few weeks which will highlight everything we’ve been up to in our first year, so stay tuned for all the wonderful details!
For today though we will be at our last book signing for 2018 taking in all the Pre-Game festivities of Grey Cup Sunday at our local Pub! I know, different location for a book signing, however, this pub has been a watering hole in our neighborhood for years and many patrons knew who Ken was since we’d all collect as family for special occasions, especially big game day events. Ken smack dab in the middle of it all, cheering, high fiving, pull tabbing between plays, right up to the final whistle! Seems only fitting to bring Ken to a place today where people will remember him for who he was then, and may be interested in his life story. To share his journey with them, to touch that ‘cord’ in people who perhaps only watched Ken from a distance but couldn’t help smile or chuckle inside while he engaged with his tablemates. The laughing, kibitzing, friendly posturing of people engaged in their team’s touchdown or amazing play, everyone being exactly who they were, everyone included, brought together by the “big game”. All one with each other, differences aside, connected and belonging, just as it should be.