Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I never had a brother like Taylor, so I can not really speak to what it must be like for Taylor's older brother. As I sit in the other room when C. comes home to visit with Taylor, I hear this conversation:
T: My brudder
C: Hey Taylor
T: My Brudder. Boo
C: Hey Taylor. What are you doing?
T: My Brudder. Boo.
(Copy and paste that about 100 times and you've got the entire conversation.) I know that this must be frustrating and probably a little sad for my (wonderful!) oldest son. There must be some longing in him that craves a regular brother-brother relationship. Even though it's totally irrational, I feel responsible that C. was robbed of that complicated, irreplicable experience that having a normal sibling brings. He can't rag on his parents. There are no, "Remember when mom set the cat on fire!?" stories. Who does C. turn to when he sees one of his parents loses it?
Again, I don't want to speak for C., but I know this life must have been hard for him.
When Taylor was born, people asked us constantly, "When are you going to tell C. that his brother had Down Syndrome?" Uh, well, let me see. What exactly is it that you want C. to know about his brother? Won't he figure a lot of it out and don't you think it'd be best to answer questions as they come up?
Along about 4th grade, C. came home from school and said, "Mama, my friends say Taylor is retarded. Is he retarded? Gulp. Breathe. Here it is!! The BIG question. "Yes," I responded calmly and gently. "What do you think retarded means, C?" Without skipping a beat, C. exclaimed, "Oh I know what it means. It means Taylor is either bow-legged or chicken-toed!"
"EXACTLY!!" I replied. Exactly, my wise son.
Taylor's older brother is an incredible human being. He is the most compassionate (and witty!) person I know. He both loves Taylor with all of his heart and mourns the loss of the "normal" brother that did not show up. C. is as brilliant as Taylor is intellectually challenged. Is some ways they are complete opposites. In ways of the heart, they are identical twins. They are brothers. Taylor could not have chosen a better big brudder to accompany him through this life. It's probable that C. ended up choosing just as well. Bow-legged or standing strong--gifted both. And, in so many ways, each a gift to one another. (Is anybody besides me hearing the swell of the violins right about now?}
Yes, he's Taylor's brudder.
My brudder. Boo.