In the summer of 1993 my family and I went to Lake Geneva. While the four of us were eating dinner one night at a sit-down restaurant called Popeye’s, the waitress came over to refill my mom’s water and I declared to her that my brother was special.
We all have at least one person in our lives who we respect more than ourselves. I met mine at the age of three. Please allow me to introduce you to my little brother Jason.
Jason doesn’t walk out of bed every morning. He climbs out of bed and crawls down the stairs on his stomach. Whoever is the last one to watch TV at night habitually knows to set the channel to Nickelodeon because Jason always rises before every one else in the house.
It’ll be 7:30 in the morning on a Saturday and as I’m leaving for work this 20 year old kid is watching Spongebob instead of sleeping until noon.
If Jason needs to use the bathroom and neither one of my parents are up yet, he’ll scream “mom” loud enough to get her out of bed. She’ll carry him into the bathroom because he can’t use the toilet by himself. Afterwards, she’ll put him in his wheelchair for breakfast, because he can’t feed himself Cinnamon Toast Crunch with a spoon. After breakfast my mom gets him dressed with clothes that she let him pick out the night before. Then he’ll play racing games on his Portable Playstation (PSP) all day. Unless he has school, needs to go to therapy or decides to take a nap.
A lot of people bond with their siblings by going out to movies, out to dinner, or out to Starbucks for a cup of coffee and a chat. For me it’s not that easy. For every single night I go out with my friends I wish and I hope and I pray that I could take him with me. But I can’t. Because I have to worry about the bathroom situation and whether or not the place is handicap accessible. I’d also have to drive our fire-engine red magic-school bus of a van with a wheelchair ramp, which is a small sacrifice because it’s Jason’s favorite mode of transportation in the world, I just had to give everyone the visual of how big it is.
Jason can type, he can read, he can count and do math. He may not be able to have a wordy conversation like the rest of us, but he talks and doesn’t shut up. He has language of his own that my Grandpa calls Jason-ese. He says words like “yeah, no, mom, and I love you,” (when he feels like it) but a majority of what he says is just his own individual noise.
Jason is not physically or mentally disabled. He is simply a strong-minded ambitious boy who is trapped in a body that doesn’t work the way he’d like it to. I would give up my ability to walk, speak and write, if it meant Jason could live an able-bodied life. I’m afraid of the person I would be without him. Most importantly, if it wasn’t for him, my whole family would actually have to wait in line at Disney World.