As I was watching a video on adults with physical/intellectual developmental disorders today morning, I couldn’t help but to think about you.
To be honest, you were an embarrassment to me growing up. I dreaded going out in public with you because of the stares I knew we’d get. And what bugged me especially was when you’d tap anyone you see and give him or her a high five. Okay, not even a high five. It’s like a low-five-slap-so-hard-i-want-to-chop-my-hand-off.
One distinct memory I have of you is in the 3rd grade, when I came home from school and found my room to be a paper party. There was marked lined/construction paper all over the floor, and you sitting among them with crayons in your hands. I yelled the living daylight out of myself and hated you sooo bad at that point. You were always really good at digging through my stuff and scribbling all over them, and I was always good at pushing you out of my room and closing the door on you while you looked at me with those really sad and confused eyes. Moments like these made me complain to mom, dad, and God like a stupid little brat about why I had an older brother like you and not a normal one who I could fight with, annoy the crap out of, and be overly protected by.
But as an almost-quarter-of-a-century-year-old woman, I more than completely understand why God has made me your little sister. Through you, I am constantly learning about patience, love, and compassion. I’m always humbled by your kind and pure heart, capable of bringing joy to everyone around you. (I’m not trying to write cliche stuff here. It’s really true. You’ve gotten people who haven’t smiled or talked in a while to do so again, even though you yourself cannot talk.) I’m humbled by your genuine love for people and your love for me, your selfish little twerp of a sister who doesn’t visit you enough. I’m humbled by your willingness to help others, whether they really need it or not.
These are the qualities that make a good occupational therapist — and more importantly a good person — and I believe that it is because I would otherwise be a total fart in the aforementioned areas that you are my older brother.
Til this day, I don’t really know exactly what your condition is or why you are the way you are. Mom keeps changing the story every time I ask. Or maybe it’s because I asked as I was growing up and she couldn’t explain it to me in a way my adolescent brain would comprehend. (Plus, the language barrier.) I feel dumb for not knowing, but I will ask again soon.
The more important thing to me, though, is not your condition or disability, but your human being-ness. I’ve always been self-centered and not thought about what you go through or whether you have/are even capable of having dreams or goals, but I hope as a future OT that God can use me in whatever way to help you experience full joy in life and ultimately in Him.
I love you, Harry. I’m sorry for the way I was in the past and even the way I am now, but I am so thankful for you and I promise while we are apart to always keep you in my thoughts and prayers, and to do what I can to make you happy…
… because you are you and you deserve it.
Your baby sister