Then we were told that my Mom's ulcer had a heartbeat and that a baby would be here in 4 months. Everyone was excited, until he was born with Down's syndrome, and that experience opened my eyes and taught me how to really love, and most of all, made me furious at the way handicapped people were labeled and locked away. I wrote about my brother at http://echo-echosvoice.blogspot.com/2011/10/my-brother-has-downs-syndrome-and-i.html
I was in 9th grade when the mainstreaming law suddenly meant that people with more serious handicapping conditions were allowed in our school and suddenly I found out that one of my best friends had a twin brother who was blind since too much oxygen as a premie, and her twin and several other kids our age were suddenly in school with us. And because her twin walked him with us every day, we became friends too.
|my brother and I|
I found that the kids in my class that I loved the most, were the defiant, determined ones who argued every time they were told "NO." But I found I didn't love them or dislike them because of their handicaps, I loved them or disliked them because of their personalities and their choices, just like normal kids. Because they were just another kind of normal.
Sure, the ones who ignored the word "No" were not easy, but they never gave up, and if they were told they couldn't do something, they just tried harder. In later years, I have found myself a lot less patient with kids who could do anything easily but are too lazy to try.
So I love teaching. I still do, but I also wanted to be a writer. Fortunately I could do both. My first book was Duffy Barkley is Not a Dog
and I wanted to make it a fantasy story to share with my kids, one like Narnia, Oz, Neverland or a Wrinkle in Time, where there was a chance to create another world and use my imagination.
|My Brother and my sons|