Moishey’s sister, who is his junior, is engaged and about to be married iy’H. Moishey was skipped, as the expression goes in our community. My pain is raw. This is the first time his Down syndrome has been detrimental to him. Otherwise, Moishey has a great, easy, carefree life.
Several months before his sister’s engagement I confronted Moishey privately and said to him, “Are you aware that your sister is into shidduchim and might become engaged in a short while?” Before he had a chance to answer, I elaborated, “Moishey, it is not uncommon for girls to skip older brothers. Males often want to remain in yeshiva for advanced studying and learning and it is totally appropriate for their female siblings to get married before them. You are now in yeshiva, ‘shteiging away’ and your sister wants to get married. Is that okay with you, Moishey?” He looked at me and nodded. Fear suddenly gripped me and I thought – What if, after 120 years, he takes me before a Heavenly Tribunal and accuses me of betraying and hurting him? I shuddered. I stood there, looked him straight in the eye and said, “Moishey, please say that in a full sentence.” He did. I turned sideways and dabbed at my eyes. My heart was at peace. Several weeks later his sister became engaged. Moishey told me with a smile, “Okay, now after this one, I am next.” I smiled, but my heart splintered.
Moishey is handling the engagement very well; he is as chipper as can be and considers himself a key player in the wedding arrangements. On his own he has contacted a prominent singing group and asked them to come sing at the wedding, all without the knowledge of his ‘elders’. Comically enough, the group leader has agreed and wants to come free of charge, all for Moishey’s sake. (My sister suggested I send Moishey to the caterer and florist too and we might come away with a ‘free wedding’. As a postscript she suggested Moishey contact Tiffany and ‘negotiate’ a diamond brooch for his mother lekovod the simcha.)
Hashem, please send Moshiach quickly, if only for Moishey’s sake. His next sibling, a brother, is not-quite 14 years old, but please don’t test me then. My heretofore explanation will fall flat on its face.
This article first appeared in issue #16 of Down Syndrome Amongst Us