The hardest job she’ll ever love


Allie Hendricks

Junior Morgan watches television while his mom Cathy Morgan makes tea in the kitchen on Oct. 20, 2021. When they don’t go out, their evenings are very relaxed with usually no strict plans as they spend time at home with their dogs (from left to right) Gabby, Missy, and Cody.

Cathy Morgan teases her son, Junior Morgan, as they do a picture search game together, making bunny ears with her fingers behind his head.
“I found the bunny!” she says.
Junior laughs. “Ah, Mimi!” he says affectionately.

Junior, 39, has Down syndrome and lives with his mom Cathy, 70, in the home she bought 30 years ago in Bowling Green. Cathy’s encouragement of Junior to help with laundry, cooking and other household chores has made him self-sufficient and their relationship symbiotic.

“[Junior’s] like, ‘If you help me, I’ll help you,’” Cathy says. When Cathy asks him if he wants to clean his room each Sunday, suggesting they could always do it later, Junior is easily on board to help. He seems to have inherited the sweetness his mother demonstrates. Cathy raised Junior as a single mom after divorcing his father two years into their marriage. She received some help from her first husband’s family, her oldest daughter from that marriage and a babysitter, but Cathy was the main caregiver for Junior.

“The first ten years was like hair pulling. It was almost too much,” Cathy says. “But after he got, like, 10, he calmed down. It wasn’t bad at all after that.”

Junior can be left alone at home now when his mom goes out to clean houses during the day. Cathy didn’t know what Down syndrome was when Junior was diagnosed at two months old. The nurse suggested institutionalizing him, but Cathy rejected the idea. She started taking him to an early intervention program, where they helped him learn things such as walking, which he couldn’t do until he was 3.

“I kinda knew it was not going to be the easiest job I ever had,” Cathy says. “But it’s gonna be the hardest job you’ll ever love.”

In the past, Junior spent time in Best Buddies and programs at the Down Syndrome of South Central Kentucky Buddy House, but Cathy says he outgrew them. Cathy supports the things he is interested in, including guitar, crochet, and CrossFit. They also eat out together, frequently getting ice cream.

“I always take him where he asks because I know he doesn’t have any other way to get

around,” Cathy says. “I love doing stuff with him.”

Cathy wants to live with Junior for the rest of her life because of the good relationship they have. If Junior ever wants to move out, she says he’ll have to take her with him.

“I’d say we pretty much are best friends,” Cathy says. “I’m thankful I got him.”