Life with my brother John | Columnists


My brother loves dogs, The Wiggles and playing with toys. He rides horses on Mondays, enjoys bowling on Saturdays and swims every day in the summer. He doesn’t talk much, but when he does he has a lot to say.

John, my brother, is one of a kind. Before he was born, my parents did not know that he would not develop normally. Right after he arrived and the doctor told them the news, my mother said her first thought was, “Oh, no. He will be harassed. »

Fortunately, that didn’t happen. He is well liked and talks to strangers at school as if he has known them for years.

I remember in 2019 when my family went to Disneyland, and it was a really great vacation. As we strolled through the huge park, I had to keep looking back to make sure John was still following us. John doesn’t walk as fast as us. He also likes to walk around and look around. He takes things slowly. He’s the kind of person who would stop and smell the flowers instead of running right past them.

All my life, I’ve had to make sure he always follows us. Sometimes he is distracted. You see, John loves dogs. Small dogs, big dogs, fluffy dogs, scary dogs. He will stop walking if he sees someone with a dog.

Then he will rush over and ask them questions. “What is the dog’s name ?” “What is the breed? “How old is the dog?” The questions keep coming as he pets the animal and listens.

He loves all types of animals, but above all dogs. I think he’s secretly a dog whisperer. He likes to listen to them in silence while passing his hand over their head. But most of all, he loves dog kisses – big, slobbery dog ​​kisses.

Living with John is completely normal for me, but others might not think the same. They might think it’s odd that John is five years older than me, when I’m responsible for him if we’re home alone. They might think it’s strange that he drinks three glasses of eggnog and wants more unless you stop him. Or that he’s still listening to The Wiggles, an Australian children’s singing quartet, in Taiwanese (and backwards!) loudest at 9 p.m., or how he won’t do anything until he doesn’t. won’t have his evening ice cream.

But that’s how it’s always been. I know exactly how he acts and the way he talks, right down to the noise he makes when he’s happy or excited.

I don’t know what it’s like to be him, and he doesn’t know what it’s like to be me. We don’t really see how different we are.

But we share some similarities. We both love building snowmen, swimming in Flathead Lake every summer, opening presents on Christmas Eve, and eating our mom’s homemade clam chowder. And we both laugh at scenes from his favorite movie, “Elf.”

When John was younger, he liked to go to the neighbors to see their dog. But he would simply disappear without ever telling a family member. When one of us realized he was missing, we would go crazy looking for him. The wind was blowing harder and I could hear my parents screaming across the yard. The familiar smell of hay and grass would fill my nose. One day, as my eyes roamed the field, I finally saw a bright red shirt running towards our house 400 feet away.

With the neighbor’s dog following him.

“John, how are you? We’ve been looking for you everywhere!

Then he pointed to the dog and softly said its name: “Moka.”

I sighed. “I see her, John. I know you love Mocha, but you have to let us know when you’re gone.

I shouted behind me: “Mom, I found it!”

She came running over and said the same thing to John. He simply looked down and stroked Mocha. Then he went out into the pasture to dance and play with the dog for the next two hours. Sometimes I think he likes our neighbor’s dog more than ours.

John and I were once in a bike race. I have to ride next to him as motivation. The wind was blowing through our hair and my hand was gripping the handle tightly. John likes to ride slow, so in the end we were in last place. He would take breaks from time to time and I would stop and wait with him, encouraging him to continue but feeling anxious all the time. Because, after all, it was a race!

But when I wasn’t looking, he was walking away, faster than ever, using all his energy to get away from me. I was running after him and he was laughing the whole time. It was quite funny.

Being John’s sister has changed my life. I don’t know what life would be like without him.

My brother was born with Down syndrome. If he hadn’t been born with his disability, would my view of people be the same? Would I be as empathetic? Would I have as much patience as me? Would I have fewer responsibilities?

Being with him seems to slow down time. He does things simply and quietly. I admire him and his ability to not let his disability define him.

I hope I will continue to watch it for inspiration.


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