Kendall turned 21 yesterday. He has Williams Syndrome, a developmental disorder, resulting in learning problems and unique personality characteristics. He is fascinated with things that make noise and finds joy in meeting new people. He is, indeed, unique.
Kendall's father passed away early in his life, leaving his mom, Rene, with the task of raising a boy who would never fit into our society. As I watched Kendall grow older I often wondered how it is that children like Kendall find themselves in families that seem so well suited to caring for them. Kendall’s life is filled with music, animals, trips, Starbucks, bike rides, endless bits of physical and intellectual stimulus, and boundless love. Rene’s life is focused on caring for what she describes as the The Most Wanted Boy Ever Born. Is there a God that matches children to people like Rene, or do people rise to become the person they need to be? Would any of us become a Rene if a Kendall was thrust upon us?
Kendall is loved. He has a family support system and a neighborhood that will greet him as he and Rene circle the block on their massive tandem bike. Yes, sometime strangers will draw back when approached by a unique man-boy who just wants to shake their hand - but more often they will take the opportunity to meet Kendall and Rene and ask about their lives. Meals will be paid for by strangers and gifts will be given.
Perhaps Kendall has been put in our lives to make us understand how easy those lives really are.