Too often when people see my family, they think we are all crazy, or pity me for the family I have. Even a stranger asked me once if there was something wrong with me too!
Looking at my family, we do look crazy.
A white man and his wife, who has only one leg and no arms, who are raising two children in wheelchairs, two biological children, a set of twins, a kid with a heart condition that causes an eight year old to look like a four year old, and a 9 year old with ADHD. Did I mention there are a total of 10 children? I have a total of 9 siblings; one biological, seven from Haiti, and one from Ecuador.
While they are not wrong in assuming my family is crazy, they are grievously wrong when they assume my brothers and sisters with disabilities are useless or a burden.
Let me tell you about my family…
Every Easter, my sister Hannah plays piano for our church. She loves the old hymns, especially “Stand Up for Jesus”. Whenever she plays, people can’t help but listen. I know it’s hard to believe, but Hannah is blind and deaf, aided only by a cochlear implant, a device similar to a hearing aid. When she was younger, she would put her feet on the bottom side of the piano and feel the vibrations through her feet. She plays music just from hearing it, and if you hum a song in her ear, she’ll be able to play along easily. She can’t actually hear you humming very well, but she can feel the vibration in your throat.
Vanessa is a bucket of sunshine, with too much energy! She loves cheerleading, and has quite the knack for cooking. She absolutely loves making dessert or even helping make dinner for our family. Vanessa has cerebral palsy, a disease that by definition should not allow her the mobility to cook or cheer. But she does. She is currently working on learning to talk more clearly.
Now Jon, he’s a little rat! He always is trying to avoid his schoolwork and get away with playing all day. Because he doesn’t like work, he comes across as unintelligent to some. A few months ago, we were trying to get a speech device for him that would allow him to speak by pressing buttons. The woman from the hospital told my mother she was not sure he would actually have anything to say. Jon proceeded to form full sentences using the board, telling the woman his name, about his family, and even telling her he liked soccer and could kick one with his wheelchair. Finally he finished with “That’s cool” before falling silent. We got the speech device.
My brothers and sisters are different, and they are a little weird. However, they all have talents and gifts that make them who they are. Unfortunately these gifts and talents are typically only seen by those closest to them, but isn’t that how it is for all of us?
So dear reader, please don’t feel sorry for me. I am surrounded by a family that has special unique talents, ideas, and dreams; and there is no place I’d rather be.
Speaking up for my siblings