My Little Brother With Down Syndrome Teaches Me So Much

My Little Brother With Down Syndrome Teaches Me So Much

Having a sibling with Down Syndrome can be hard, but it is also a unique and eye-opening experience.
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A lot of us grow up with siblings in our lives, whether they're younger, older or close to our age. While we don't like to admit it when we're young, our brothers and sisters help shape who we are and how we see the world. They also tend to teach us important lessons that we may have never learned without them.

When I was 4 years old, my brother was born. I was an only child before then and I remember being so excited to finally have someone to play with. Being young, it never occurred to me that there was anything different about him. He was cute, fun to play with and I enjoyed having him around. I would bring all of my stuffed animals to the living room while he was laying on the floor and make a circle with them around him because I liked him so much.

As I grew older, I began to see what other people usually see about my little brother. He didn't walk, talk or act like other children his age. That is when it occurred to me that my brother was different. But not in a bad way.

Growing up with a sibling who has Down Syndrome is a blessing as well as a challenge. For those who do not know, Down Syndrome is a genetic defect caused by an extra or third chromosome on the 21st set of chromosomes. It usually results in lower cognitive functioning and distinct physical features such as short stature, low muscle tone, upward slanting eyes, etc. But if you know someone with Down Syndrome, you know that these skin deep aspects have nothing on their cheerful and amazing personalities.

Having a sibling who "isn't like the other kids" can be a struggle. I grew up watching people stare at my brother and give him strange looks. I had friends ask what was wrong with him and why he did the little things he does. As a kid, I was always embarrassed. I used to think, "Why am I the one with the brother everyone always has questions about?" Looking back, I know it was something I had to go through in order to embrace the special person my brother is.

Now being in college, I look back at the way I used to be embarrassed of my brother and laugh. If there is one thing that having a sibling with Down Syndrome teaches you, it is that you have to have tough skin. Learning to accept my brother for who he is was difficult, but it also taught me not to judge others so quickly. It taught me that you have to be patient and be slow to anger with certain people. But the biggest lesson it taught me was how to embrace someone for who they are, little quirks and all.

Do I sometimes still struggle with having a sibling who is different? Sure. Having to take the stairs one step at a time or listen to him singing along to Aladdin for the 10 millionth time can be a little annoying. But it makes up for it when I get to see him do things that really surprise me, like read out loud or swim better than most people I know.

Having a brother with Down Syndrome is difficult, but it is also fun and rewarding. Watching someone go about life in a different way can change the way you see your own. If I had to sum up my experience is one sentence, it would be this: There is no such thing as DIS-abled, only DIFFERENTLY-abled.

Cover Image Credit: Crabb, Megan

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.
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Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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15 Reasons Sisters Are Literally The Best Friends A Girl Could Have

10. She never lets you be bored...

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Sisters are the best! I'm lucky enough to have an older and a younger sister. Although sometimes being the middle child sucks, it has its perks, one being: having an older and younger sister.

I'll be honest and say that we do fight, but what siblings don't? I know they will always be here for me and love me as much as I love them.

1. You learn a lot from them (especially from their mistakes)...

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Everyone makes mistakes cause nobody is perfect, your sister's mistakes help you learn and vice versa. People can usually tell your sister because you act in the same manner as each other.

2. You always stick together!

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You may argue but when it comes to needing someone on your side or to back you up, you can count on her.

3. She always know just what you need to hear...

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Perks of having a sister is they've known you all your/thier life. They know your moods and behaviors and always know just what you need to hear.

4. She always know how to make you smile.

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Having a bad day? Not on your sisters watch, she knows just how to make you smile and laugh.

5. You've got your own personal hairstylist!

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She may not be the best but thats what youtube is for! Chances are, she loves messing iwth your hair as much as you enjoy her messing with your hair, even if the results aren't the best.

6. You just sort of forget who's clothes are who's...

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This may cause some arguments but eventually its forgotten and you can't stay mad at each other for too long.

7. She understands your weird cause she's weird too.

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You just get each other and don't mind how weird the other gets, and that is the best.

8. She's always got your back no matter what situation you're in...

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You might get yourself in the craziest of situations and don't know how the heck to get out of it. She will always help out to the best of her ability after she finishes laughing.

9. She knows how to have fun!

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No matter how small the gathering or even if its just you and her, you always seem to have a great time together.

10. She never lets you be bored...

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Whether its sending you funny gifs or memes or actually getting you off your butt to go do something, sisters will never let you be bored.

11. She can be completely annoying but you still love her.

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She can annoy you to the point where you just want her to buzz off, but somehow it brings a smile to your face, after you finish sulking.

12. She doesn't take any of your crap!

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Friends may just let things slide but your sister isn't afraid to stand up to you even if it gets you mad at her. So whether if your acting crappy toward her or being a downer on yourself, she'll call you out.

13. God hand picked her just for you...

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It's hard to argue that you weren't meant to be sisters when you just get each other.

14. She loves you unconditionally.

No matter what you do or who you become, you know your sister still loves you even if she doesn't always show it.

15. She'll always be there when you need her most...

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There will always be hard times during life and your sister will be there with you through thick and thin.

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