The invitation clearly stated: "No gifts, YOU are the gift, and we want to thank you." We meant that. Yet, many kindly, generous souls felt like bringing a gift to Wil's 18th birthday party, anyway.
When Grandma asked him what he'd like for his birthday he replied, "Dial hand soap. The foaming kind."
When his friend Cameron asked he said, "How about a couple bucks. Let's say $2.25."
When Kathleen asked he said, "I like when you give me dollars for the ice cream truck." She gives him one-per-year, so was thinking 18 this time. "I'm thinking... maybe 40?"
When my mom asked he said, "Fancy socks."
The guests got creative. The guests got inside his head. The guests know him well. Here's a sampling of some of the great gifts he received, and is already enjoying:
* Bi-Mart gift card
* 7-Eleven gift cards
* Frozen yogurt gift cards
* Baskin Robbins gift cards
* Scratch-It lottery ticket
* Fancy socks
* Clothes he can wear to church
* Tie-dye shirts
* Dollar bills
One older couple from our church wrote in their card, "We'd like for you to select a movie and come over to our house to watch it with us." I thought that was super sweet and wonderful. He'll never sit for a full-length movie, but if they're up for endless repeats of "Sam and Cat," "Drake and Josh," or "iCarly," then he's all in.
But truly, the real gifts are the villagers themselves, those invested, those with eyes, ears and hearts open to watch out for him, care for him, help guide and direct him.
And to all of them and all of you, we bow our heads with deepest gratitude.