Tuesday, January 6, 2009

"John Fly"

Ok, so anyone who knows me well, knows that I am very attached to my youngest brother John. Growing up, my brothers, sister and I always knew he was the "favorite" in the family, not only because he was the baby, and not because he had Down Syndrome, but because he had an endearing quality and love of life that made you want to be around him. We grew up being comfortable with having a Down Syndrome brother. I would take John places and wonder why people would stare at him or even worse, I would listen to comments made while I waited for him to come out of a public bathroom and sat there enraged at the smart-allecky little punks who dared speak ill of such a sweet guy. Some years later, my husband (to-be) pointed out that kids that had not grown up around someone like John were uncomfortable because they weren't sure how to treat him. I then made it my motto that my children would grow up knowing and loving their Uncle John and never be one of those punks I had encountered so many times.

So, it is with great pride and emotions that I tell you that Charlie knows his Uncle John and really loves him. John came home to visit over Thanksgiving and Christmas break. He spent a lot of time at our house and Charlie loved having his Uncle John here. He would wake up in the morning and want to go to John's room to see him. He wanted John to play with him in the play room and watch "Choo-choo" with him. Every time he left to go visit with my parents or siblings, Charlie would cry, "I want John." And finally, when we took John to the airport and accompanied him all the way to the boarding gate, Charlie cried out "bye John" and "John fly" until his airplane took flight. As I pushed Charlie in his stroller through the airport on our way back to the parking garage, Charlie started crying "JJOHHHHNNNN," which broke this mother's heart. I fought back the tears myself and knew at that moment that my son really KNEW his Uncle John and LOVED him. Since that day, Charlie still talks about his Uncle John and says "John fly" as he puts his arms out to fly like an airplane. I know this mission of mine is not over yet, but I will continue to do my best so that my children will always hold a special place in their hearts for their Uncle John.