You may call him funny; others call him retarded; his doctors call him a boy with Down syndrome. I choose to call him my special brother, for he is truly a gift from Above. The moment he was born our lives changed completely, in more ways than one.
Down syndrome, also called Trisomy 21, is a condition in which affected individuals are born with an extra chromosome in every cell. Every person has 46 chromosomes, but people with Down syndrome have one extra copy, which makes them different and slightly delayed than the rest of us.
Life with my brother became very busy. He had doctors’ appointments for hearing tests and heart xrays and many more to ensure that he was medically well. At three months of age he started a rigid therapy program, which led to therapists coming to our home at all hours of the day!
Today he is an adorable four-year-old with an amazing personality. His smile and easygoing nature attracts everyone to him, and neighbors often come knocking on our door, asking to play with Burach. He is always polite and his good manners are enviable. His “please” and “thank you” echo in our home like pleasant music to the ears. Burach is also very meticulous. When anything spills, he doesn’t ignore it; instead, he gets some napkins and wipes up the mess. When he becomes dirty he becomes sad, but then brightens quickly. He never forgets to say brachos loudly and makes sure that everybody answers “amen.” When Shabbos arrives he sings and dances with such excitement that it is hard to describe. Burach also empathizes with those around him and laughs and cries along when others do, and then offers hugs freely and abundantly.
When he was sick with pneumonia and hospitalized for a week, he was smiley and cheerful, despite being so ill. He sang along with Uncle Moishy CDs and slapped-five with all doctors and nurses.We, his siblings at home, missed him more than we did our parents, who were with him in the hospital for the duration of his stay. We spoke to him on the phone frequently and he was the one who reassured us that all was well and he’d be home soon.
Often, people will stare at him on the street and then look at us with pity.We don’t get discouraged.We straighten our backs and proudly continue on our way. After all, we are happy and lucky to have such a gift like our special brother.
This article first appeared in issue #15 of Down Syndrome Amongst Us