The leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.

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Sibling's Perspective
Sibling's Perspective

I get a little emotional and semi-private feeling about writing this post. I know that there are no expectations on me yet I fear that I should be saying something profound and read-worthy. I feel like I should gush over what Todd has taught me. How do I put that into words? My little brother Todd is now 25 and he has Down syndrome. Todd and I never went to the same school partly because of our nine year age difference and partly because Todd was bused to county programs on other school sites. Therefore, I do not have stories of lunch lines, recesses, or bus rides together. I do, however, have the stereo-typical experiences having been raised with a child with Down syndrome. Yes, I have received dirty looks from strangers in the grocery store. Yes, I have encountered my "friends" laughing too easily at my little brother. Yes, I have interpreted many orders for wait staff at restaurants how it drives me crazy that Todd will be the one ordering yet the wait staff makes eye contact with me and not with Todd. But, those stereo-typical experiences are not what defines my relationship with my brother. That extra chromosome brings some wonderful affection and excitement. No one has a more boisterous greeting than Todd does for his family. He throws his hands up, hollers for you and throws his arms around your neck. He likes to high five and cootchy, cootchy, coo my kids (his niece and nephew). He loves to be called Uncle Todd. No one sings a better rendition of "Happy Birthday" than Todd. This kid can not sing. Off key and mostly unintelligible, really, but full of joy and happiness. And LOUD. He sings loud. He does not hold back. Todd always stands up tall and straight when he hears the National Anthem even if it is on TV. He will jump up off of the couch and stand at attention with his hand over his heart. He stands as still as a statue until the end, at which point he always yells "Play ball!" Even though the anthem is played for many more occasions than baseball games. I worry that this post may not meet your expectations. Perhaps this post is all about expectations. Perhaps we are all worried about falling short in someone's eyes. Some people learn everything that they need to know in kindergarten. Me? Anything I needed to know I learned from Todd: Greet by hugging one another. Sing out loud for your own enjoyment. Stand tall and straight. Release your fear of failing to meet someone else's expectations.

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Greg Ladner, United States, CA
1/22/2011 5:11:46 AM
"Loved the story Coree, you and Todd are very special people. Thanks for opening up a private perspective of your family to share with others."

Tunisia Burns, United States, CA
1/21/2011 8:09:56 AM
Its a special relationship that you sound like you truly cherish. Love it

Sara Sobieralski, United States, WI
1/21/2011 8:01:08 AM
I loved reading this Coree...xoxo

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