July’s thrown me so many adventures which made me reflect on life. Some involved planes, trains and boats. Some involved insanely delicious food and extremely revolting delicacies. But the best adventures I reckon are the ones that emanate the sheer importance of life. Like being a sister to a special child.
It’s not particularly easy having to explain what Down’s Syndrome is to people who know not much about it; I myself am not an expert. But I could go on forever about how fantastic life has been since my sister came along, and the other children/people I’ve met with the condition. They are the sweetest cherubs in the world. They may not be fully understood, they may not fully understand, but they embrace life in a way none of us can.
My sister’s Down’s Syndrome is a mild case so in a way we’re lucky. The parents enrolled her in an early intervention school when she was eight months old to develop her psychomotor skills, her comprehension and her speech. Every time she nailed a goal like shooting a ball in a hoop or learning colours or saying things clearly, we felt we’ve won the World Cup or reached the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro. It was a bigger achievement than my academic certificates or my brother’s MVP trophies.
Sure it would get bumpy at times. Often she’d play games on her iPad or watch a DVD on her portable player all day and not give a damn. You’d try to give her a cuddle and she’d look at you as if you’ve murdered 10,000 unicorns. You’d try to persuade her to do something and she’d sulk and be a bit of a diva. You’ve gotta learn to be thick-skinned about it. But it doesn’t stop you from being frustrated.
But you have to remember: take courage.
She’s exceptionally talented for someone who has DS. She’s won heaps of awards in school – most improved this, best in that type thing. She loves to sing and often front-lines whenever her school does a dance production. My heart swells with pride whenever her entertaining abilities are exposed, or whenever I watch her homemade videos (she should really have a vlog, I tell you). And it always feels like Christmas whenever she’d shower you with love and you feel like you are her world. She’d give you with kisses and cuddles, take selfies with you and rub your back as if every thing is okay.
She turned 11 this month. Eleven. She’s growing up to be a little lady – and a closet raider. I’d often get surprised seeing photos of her wearing clothes I’ve left in Manila throughout my trips (then again isn’t that what sisters are for?) – and she’s becoming more of the girly type of girl my mother had always wanted me to be. In my eyes, she will always be the loving child whom we all adore. My beautiful baby sister who will always inspire me to take courage.