What do you want the world to know about your sibling?
David: I want the world to know that, in a lot of ways, my brother is just like everyone else. He is not “always happy” and does not “always like to give hugs”. Sometimes he is overflowing with happiness and excitement; other times he is frustrated, moody, and upset with himself or others. He has weakness and areas in his life he needs to work on; but he also has immense strengths and goals that he hopes to achieve. There are undoubtedly some things that others have done that he will never do, but there are also of plenty of other things he HAS done that others will never accomplish. However, there is one more way he is like everyone else: he is completely unique. He has his own perspective, his own opinions, his own reactions, his own perceptions, his own challenges, his own triumphs, his own dreams, and his own vision for how he would like to live his life. If I could have the world know anything about Steve or any of his friends with disabilities it is this–he is an individual, so please do not expect him to align with any stereotypes or pre-conceivied judgements you have of how people with Down syndrome should be. He is Steve and if you want to know or learn more about him–ask him yourself :)
Steve: I want them to know that he is a genius.
How has your sibling surprised you?
David: My brother has surprised me the most by showing me that we are more alike than we ever knew. For so many years, we seemed polar opposites. He had lighter features, I had darker features. He was very animated, I was more laid-back. He appeared unafraid to jump into the heart of the action, I preferred to lay back and observe. He loved to walk around the house singing and dancing, I couldn’t be caught dead in a musical. As the years have passed, however, it has surprised me how much we truly are alike. We both are secretly perfectionists, which contribute to both our strong work ethic, but also our inability to always accept criticism or ask for help. We are both curious, always seeking out more knowledge (both meaningful and useless) about sports, music, tv, movies, history, and politics. We both love being part of the same communities: the disability community, the PALS community, the Glenallan Elementary School community (where I teach 4th grade and Steve volunteers in the main office). The most surprising similarity that we share is in our thirst for independence. I always wanted to figure things out for myself and experience the world on my own terms. As much as everyone in my family wanted this for Steve, we were never sure it would ever happen or if Steve even wanted it. Since moving out of my parents house into an apartment with his friend Eli Lewis over 2 years ago, Steve has demonstrated that same need. He has shown bravery, flexibility, growth, and a very recognizable sense of independence. We are very similar–for better or for worse–but I (and hope he too) wouldn’t have it any other way.
Steve: I’m surprised that my brother gives good advice. Like “You’re gonna be awesome!”
What do you love most about your brother/sister?
David: One of the things I love most about Steve is his sense of loyalty. He is tenacious about those he loves and cares about. Whether it be his family, his friends, or his celebrity crushes (shoutout to Hilary Duff), Steve’s loyalty is unwavering; he welcomes, protects, and defends those who are most important to him to no end, even if it is to a fault sometimes. Another thing I love about Steve is his flexibility, something that has not come easy to him. Whether it be about the time of his lunch on vacations or his budding love for our dog Talulah, Steve has shown a rare ability to push himself outside his comfort zone to enhance his own life and the lives of others around him. If I had to pick one thing that I love about Steve–one thing above all the others–it would be that he is MY brother!
Steve: When he is acting crazy.