Saying Goodbye To My Little Brother With Down Syndrome

Saying Goodbye To My Little Brother With Down Syndrome

Best Friend, Confidant, Brother

Yes, I’ll miss my parents. Yes, I’ll miss my friends. Yes, I’ll even miss my older brother. This is all true, but the most soul crushing thing about moving 1,300 miles from home is the idea that I won’t get to see my little brother every day.

My little brother, Aaron, is the light of my life, and he is unique in many ways. One of the things that makes him stand out in a crowd is his Down Syndrome.

For those of you who don’t know, Down Syndrome is a third copy of the 21st chromosome which leads to distinctive physical features and developmental delays.

Aaron is 16 years old, and he has been one of my best friends almost my whole life. Although he can annoy me to the ends of the earth, he is one of the most genuinely kind-hearted people I know. He brings me water when I’m working at home, wishes me “sweet dreams” every night, plays daily board games with me, and reminds me, more than anyone, that he loves me.

That’s what really sucks about all of it. I may not always like the little grump, but I do always love him. He is the one person, the only person, who doesn’t judge me when I make a mistake, explode for no reason, or burst into random bouts of tears. He has kept me going through so much, and, now, I have to manage to say goodbye.

I’m the middle child, and I watched my older brother go off to college four years ago. Despite his being only two hours away and visiting at least once a month, Aaron was heartbroken. I watched him cry the first few times and slowly adjust to the new family dynamic, but, in my case, it’s going to be worlds different. I’ll be home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and, if I’m lucky, fall break. I have no clue how I’m going to explain to him that I won’t be home to see his school events, his basketball games, his bowling skills, and more. I may be back for the summers, but it just won’t be the same anymore. Anytime I’m home, the only thing I’ll be doing is counting down the days until I leave him again.

Over the years, Aaron has become so much a part of my identity that I’m not really sure what it’s going to be like not being “Aaron’s sister” anymore. I’ll be my own person, which will be great, but at the price of moving away from one of my closest friends and confidantes.

Aaron will be number one in my life for as long as we are both alive, and I have no complaints about this fact, but, come mid-August, we will never be the same. Phone calls and Facetime sessions will help, but nothing will be the same as his nightly bear hugs.

I now face the terror of leaving him to fight his own fights. For the past 16 years of my life, I’ve fought tooth and nail to make sure that he was safe and loved in any and every situation. I’ve defended him against bullying, discrimination, and more, but I won’t be able to do that anymore. Aaron is so amazing in so many ways, and I wish there was a way to just pack him up and drag him to college with me, but I know my roommates probably wouldn’t appreciate it. Aaron has shaped me, for the better, in so many ways, and I wouldn’t be half the person I am today if not for him. It will be a rough adjustment, but I know that, over time, I’ll manage to adjust to life without my favorite little grump.

Cover Image Credit: Annika Soderfelt

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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To The Best Friend Every Girl Should Be Blessed Enough To Have

You definitely deserve all the love.


I have not written this letter, but it has been on my list of "to write" for forever. She keeps asking when I will write one about her and every time I tell her, soon.

Well here it is. The truth on why it took so long? No words seem to do everything justice. No matter how I put them or how I want them to sound, the page always makes them look weird and they always sound lame.

But finally, here it is. Best friend, this one is for you.

First and foremost I will start with a holy cow. We have been best friends for only a short time because who knew your "in school friend" from all those math classes would actually turn into this? We put off hanging out outside of school for years, and finally, after suffering through all that algebra we decided enough was enough.

I wish we had sooner.

I wish I had gotten more time with you before we both moved away to college - but ill take whatever time I get with you because well… you're incredible.

Thank you.

Thank you for finally agreeing to hang out with me.

Thank you for listening to every rant ever - whether it was a paragraph long text, a 2 hour FaceTime call or an hour-long car ride.

Thank you for ordering planners with me and spending nights decorating them with me (we are such losers).

Thank you for letting me become a part of your family.

Thank you for going to Friendly's, IHOP and Target at the most ungodly hours.

Thank you for encouraging me in everything I do, and stopping me from making bad decisions.

Thank you for telling me the truth, despite if it hurt me or not, I know now you will never lie about your feelings towards someone (LOL).

Basically, thank you for everything you have done for me. You have made me a better person and you encourage me to be my best self every single day.

Moving on I want to make it clear how incredibly proud of you I am. I love getting texts from you about your love for your classes, and how you want to be president of this club and president of that. How you help out kids, and how you host events. I love hearing about your major and the classes you are so incredibly excited to take. Watching you be so passionate about what you are doing and becoming makes me want to feel the same way in everything I do.

I hope someday my kids are your students because, in your hands, I know they can change the world.

Last but not least, I love you. And you're stuck with me.


Your forever number one fan

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