A guest post from Cyndi, sister

to David, who has Down syndrome. She writes,

I met Jennifer in the flesh on Monday. We had lunch together. I wanted to share some poetry and comments that I have made about my dear brother David. I am the big sister of a beautiful, tender, joyous, enthusiastic, sweet man who also happens to have Down Syndrome. I am a 41 and my brother David is 37. He still lives with my mom who raised 10 kids total (I am the 9th and he is the 10th). Yes, my mother is a goddess! And my father was a great man. David was born in 1969, the time of heavy pressure to institutionalize people with different abilities. My parents chose to take him home. I am so incredibly thankful! I would have missed the essence of what is real and what matters in this life. His teaching has shaped me in so many ways. Ways I can’t even put into words. I can’t begin to imagine my childhood without him. His wisdom continues to lead me as I make choices in my adult life. I am forever affected by his gifts. I am so thankful for a place to rave about my brother and I enjoy reading your stories and comments. Thank you for starting this forum Jennifer.

In talking with Jennifer I realized that I could help parents and others know of the benefits of being a sibling. I do not speak for all but I can tell you of my own experience. I am so amazed at how much more advanced David is in vital skills. He is loving, encouraging, patient, and enduring. Just to name a few. I have always thought of all people with Down Syndrome as David’s cousins. And in that, I have a connection to the gems of the world. To the very people that many spiritual principles teach about. Here are a few: be honest, be in the moment, love one another, do unto others as you would have done unto you, be generous, choose happiness, hug one another, don’t judge, don’t think…feel, find your bliss, laughter is the best medicine, and share. Thank you David, my little bro!

And thank you Cyndi, for sharing your insight into the beauty of your life with your brother.

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13 thoughts on “A guest post from Cyndi, sister

  1. Great post – I love Cyndi’s perspective 🙂 I hope my kids feel the same way about their little brother once they’re all grown up 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Beth
    The answer might be shocking to you. They didn’t do anything “special”. Special times and talks were not the norm in my house. It just wasn’t the way. Time didn’t afford it. I’m sure my mom didn’t have time to worry past the essentials of each day, or if she did it was huge things like heart surgeries and such. My dad was a blue collar working man and he worked very hard to support all of us. He was a good man. There wasn’t information out there as there is now. I know you probably feel it is limited now. It was very limited then. My mom and dad brought David home and decided they would love him the best they could. Love was the guide. So I think the lesson in that is to first breathe deeply, relax and put the focus on what your child can do. What they do bring to your family and the world. And leave it at that. Don’t apologize to the siblings. There is nothing wrong to apologize about. Our dear people came into life with needs of support in certain areas. Period. No questions, no apologizing.
    I think a beneficial way to use your energy would be in honoring the feelings that come up to the siblings. “I bet it makes you angry when…” “That must have hurt.” “I see you are angry.” “I bet it is frustrating when…” Honor those feelings significantly before moving into, “He can’t help it.” or “He didn’t mean it.” It does hurt very much at times. There is pain with this. But at the same time it is an amazing lesson at a very early age about what is important. I remember David breaking all 12 of my first set of long stemmed roses from a boy when I was 16. I was sooooo angry. I was sooo hurt. I was extremely frustrated. But as an adult I see how events like that had shaped me into a person that values people and knows that things do break, things fall away, things are not lasting and things do not fill a heart. I’m sure I was hugging David within a few days. His loving eyes, his gentleness, always won me back.
    This is not an easy walk as a parent I’m sure. I just hope you can get some assistance out of my perception of it all.

  3. Thank you for sharing this, Cyndi! 10 kids, wow!
    It was great for me to read this positive sibling perspective. Shortly after the birth of our twins Simon and Jude(DS), I read a book called _Being the Other One_about growing up with a brother or sister with a disability, and the overall feeling I got was negative. Big chips on some shoulders out there! Also I grew up with a boy whose little brother has autism, and I wouldn’t say he has very warm, gooey feelings about that situation either.
    So, once again, let me just say how nice it is to read from someone who has been able to see the positive and share that with some parents who are just beginning this journey.
    A question: what advice to you have for parents—what did your parents do right to help you arrive at loving and cherishing and not resenting?

  4. Nelba,
    Ahhh yes… I have experienced the full range of feelings with David as a girl. But like anything else, the wisdom and what really matters is what sticks as time marches on. He shaped my life for the positive. I developed empathy and a knowledge that my needs can wait as others do need more at times. It is a great gift. I think you are right that Marco will have a piece to write in the future.

  5. Thanks, Cyndi and Jennifer, for publishing Cyndi’s post.

    I have had moments (a lot of them recently, actually) that I feel torn between my son with CP and his older brother. Loren’s care sometimes takes such a lot of time and Marco resents it bitterly.

    All I can hope for is that one day Marco will also be able to write a piece about his brother acknowledging a special relationship. And that Loren will benefit from having his older brother around – in fact, I already don’t doubt that. Marco is unintentionally the best therapist he could ever have.

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