Escape

I had a crazy meltdown before, so I took a last-second trip upstate to clear my head. It was a successful trip and I’m feeling better again. Writing this post was a big help. It kind of reads as a stream of conscious, but it’s more just a reflection on what happened while I was away. Hope you enjoy.

Escape

I’m a prisoner of my own mind. Music blasts the entire ride upstate. I sing as loud as I can. There are times where I want to pull over and break down, but I press the gas pedal harder. The sooner I get there, the sooner I’ll feel better. It’s been a long time since I had a weekend to myself.

She lingers in the background. I see her everywhere. I can still hear her voice as clear as today. But I’m thankful there’s closure. I regret how it got to this point. What are you going to do? Nothing. Because it already happened. We all know the story; there’s no point in telling it. All that’s left to do is let to time do its job.

The music doesn’t do much. Towards the end, it just becomes a nuisance. I’m thankful to get out of the car and breathe the fresh country air. The place, like myself, needs to be taken care of. We both do our best. The walks out back, and the view of the mountains turned to gold from the sun. Breath taking. Without thinking, I reach for my inhaler that’s still in my bag back in the bedroom.

When I get back, my cousin and his wife and their newborn baby are watching tv on the floor. I’ve seen the baby before, but I didn’t get to hold her. I was sick with bronchitis at the time. As soon as the baby settled in my arms, and I saw its big blue/gray eyes staring at me, I melt. So much innocence packed into such a small baby is tough for anyone to handle. I can’t imagine how lucky my cousin is to be the father. Samantha’s big smile is infectious, like my brother’s. She’s a beautiful baby, the type of baby where you can look the parents in the eye and not have to lie to them when you say how beautiful she is.

She’s out, for now. But it won’t be so bad next time. I believe it, so it must be true.

I find my book for class and walk out back. I never read a book back there before. The land is too beautiful to not pay attention to. Birds dance across the meadow, hunting for seeds. Butterflies flutter in the wind. I open the book and get to work. Baby birds chirp for their mothers. They’re hungry. It’s dinner time. I realize I only had ice cream. Peanut butter cookie dough. And Chips.

Something is moving in the grass close by. Way too close for comfort. I close the book and wait. A head pops out. Then a second. A fawn and its mother. They don’t see me in my green shirt, or they’re in disbelief. How could they not see me? What are they going to do? I wave my arms and talk to them. I wake them up. I let them know that I am here, and that I exist, and they are too close. I’m looking out for both of us. One runs behind me, the other runs back towards the mountains. I go back to my book.

Another rustle. I’m about to finish at this point, but I have to see what’s coming towards me. A small grey dog. A coyote, I think. But it’s by itself. They travel in packs. But it’s not a fox, either. The nose isn’t pointy, the tail isn’t bushy. The fur is wrong, too. Why is it by itself, though? Is it? I can’t believe I’m seeing one in person. I have to go. I don’t want to stick around and find out it’s not alone. Never get in the way of a mother and its child. Whatever happens, you asked for it. I read the last few lines of the short story. The narrator shows her lover a letter his wife sent him. The narrator was pregnant with the man’s second child, her first.

When I get back to the house, I decide I’m going to spend the night and leave early tomorrow. I call my father and tell him about the coyote. I tell him it was one of the most frightening and most exciting moments of my entire life. I knew they were in the area, but you don’t believe it until you see it with your own eyes. He tells me seeing something like that wouldn’t have ever crossed his mind when he was my age. Times are changing. I’m blessed to be a part of it. I realize all I have to do is give in to it, and things will work out in the end.

What Makes Me Smile

This is a simple prompt: Write about something that makes you smile. What makes you happy?

I have a feeling this post is going to be a huge mess. Hopefully I can keep it together and turn it into something nice, something that will make you smile.

What Makes Me Smile

The first thing that comes to mind is the quote: “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” The truth makes me happy, even if it’s something sad. With truth comes trust. If you can’t trust someone, that someone might not have been truthful to you in the past. If you assume that someone is lying all the time, you’re not happy. No one is thankful for being lied to.

Now if that someone feels that they have to lie to you, they don’t trust you, either. Why is that? What did you do? Are you a pushover? Is it just who they are? They learned it from someone. Everything we know comes from someone else. You might not have done anything to deserve being lied to, but that’s all that someone knows. That’s how they get by. There’s no other way. All you can do is forgive and forget.

Does love make me smile? Sure. I haven’t felt it personally, but I love looking at people in love. The innocence that pours out of their eyes and bodies is overwhelming to the point of tears. What makes that love for each other possible? Trust. Truth. There is no doubt in either person that they love each other. The eyes always give them away. Any hesitation, any surprise, anything hidden comes out whether they notice or not. If they don’t trust each other, they might choose not acknowledge it, but deep down know it’s missing. Without it, they can’t go on.

Money: the root of all evil, and yet, it makes me smile. Why? I earn it honestly. What does that mean? I go to work, do my job properly, and get paid accordingly. When I spend it, I spend it wisely. I spend it on myself, on someone I care about, or something I want, and it makes me happy. I’m a very materialistic person. I spent the vast majority of my savings on a Macbook Air. I could have bought a cheaper Windows laptop, but it wouldn’t have made me happy. It upsets me that I had to spend a thousand dollars on a laptop, but I love it. I expect it to last a long time. It inspires me to take better care of it than the last one. I believe my money was well spent, and that’s all that matters. I can truly say I earned something in my life. There are very few feelings that are better than this. If you don’t earn your money honestly, you don’t feel you deserve it. You feel bad about having it. Maybe you did something illegal to get it, and then you get caught. Now you’re left with nothing.

There are countless ways to be famous today. I want to be remembered for being a good-hearted person. I always put others before me. If people around me are happy, I’m happy. The only way to do that is to live an honest, respectable life, a life that inspires others to do the same. I don’t seek fame. If I ever become famous, I don’t want to see it coming. I want it to be a natural result of my actions. I don’t want to be famous for being a murderer, a thief, or any kind of criminal. I don’t want to bring anyone down and force my way to the top. How do you want to be remembered? Your actions will determine that. Some say it’s not in your hands; that’s a lie.

So what makes me smile? What makes me happy? Life, ultimately. If you’re truthful, if you’re trustworthy, you feel alive. When you feel alive, everything comes alive. I’m happy to be alive. We all deserve to be happy. A smile goes a long way. Start there. They’re contagious.

The Fog

Fresh haircut yesterday, clean-shaved today. I’m feeling good. Things are going in the right direction again. Exception to this is that I’ve had a bad cough for over a month which isn’t getting better. The doctor thinks it’s either bronchitis or asthma. If it’s asthma, I’d be really upset about that. I’m such an active person–always have been, too–and I hate the idea of having something like that constantly looming over my head. Hopefully, everything will be alright, and it all goes away as soon as possible.

So, to take my mind off all that stuff, I found a pretty cool prompt: write about not being able to see in front of you. This will be inspired by a true story.

The Fog

The weather said there would only be a small chance of rain, but if it hit us, it would hit us hard. Most storms get blown out to sea around here, so we took the chance.

“The sun wants to come out,” my cousin would say, pointing to the small white orb barely glowing through the dark gray clouds.

“It looks like it,” I replied, a little suspect.

“We’ll be fine,” said our uncle.

And for the most part, we were. Soon after we got on the water, we forgot about the weather. We talked about movies we saw recently, sports, the economy, everything. Every once in a while, we even caught some fish. Sea robin, mostly, but also some fluke. Nothing we could keep, though; not with the ridiculous limits in place thanks to overfishing.  But even with the odds stacked against us, we went out anyways and had a good time.

We were only in the bay, but the inlet to the Atlantic Ocean was in sight. You tell what’s ocean and what’s not by the roughness of the waves. An invisible wall seems to separate the two.

After about five, six hours on the water, we decide to head back in. The sky was looking darker than usual. A few minutes later, it started to drizzle. Fog rolled in right after. We’ve fished in the bay a couple of times and had a decent sense of how to get back, so we didn’t worry too much. But the fog kept getting worse, to the point where we can’t see more than five feet in front of us in every direction.

“Take out the compass,” my uncle said to me.

It was an old compass he used when he was my age. I remember being surprised it still worked. The issue was that me being a millennial, I had no idea how it worked. I felt worthless, that I would be the reason we get lost, or end up in the ocean, which would be a disaster. Our skiff wouldn’t last a minute. I didn’t want to admit I didn’t know how to use it, but that would be our one-way ticket to the bottom of the ocean.

“Where are we headed?” asked my cousin.

“North.”

“Are you sure?”

“No.”

He takes the compass from me and shows me how to use it properly. Not as embarrassing as I thought.

“West,” I yelled to my uncle. The right direction.

Soon after, Gary, the guy that runs the boat dock, found us. He tells us to follow him back. At that point, the rain was pouring. We were all miserable even though we were being rescued. No fish, soaking wet, we felt so small on the water. The experience was eye-opening, and one we hope to never experience again.

Somewhere With You

I know I said I’d have a big story, and that I’d be writing all day, but it turned out that that’s not how it’s going to work. I started writing this morning with those intentions. It just didn’t work out that way. I said what I had to say. Lately I’ve been feeling like shit. I still do. Things aren’t getting better. This is my last chance. It’ll break or make me. I have no choice but to write. All I’ll say about this story is that my favorite song by one of my favorite singers inspired me. Enjoy the ride; it will be bumpy.

Somewhere With You

It takes everything he has in him to pretend that she doesn’t exist, that every little moment they’ve had together meant nothing. Sometimes he believes it, but his heart knows better. He’s up into the early hours of the morning hoping she’ll answer. If he actually falls asleep, he’s up before the sun rises checking to see if he missed her call.

He fills his day with things he loves. Writing is number one. He can write all day. Never sci-fi, never fantasy. He can never connect to the stories and no one connects to them either. He needs the connection. Most of his stories are fiction, but he puts so much reality into them that they dance on that fine line between fiction and nonfiction. The more he writes, the more he learns about himself. The longer she’s gone, the more he realizes that each story is not just about her, but for her.

She feels she needs to be alone. There’s a lot of stuff going on in her life. Every day is a struggle. Her own idea of happiness doesn’t involve him. Deep down, the flame might still be lit. She’d have to blow on the embers to wake them up; she might have to go out to find wood to keep it alive, but the fire certainly isn’t done yet. The will to keep it going needs to be there, and she sets out to find it.

If he’s not writing, he’s reading. He read Ethan Frome in one night waiting for her to call. The call never came, but it helped put his own situation into perspective. The book destroyed him. He knew how it would end, but it still shocked him just as much. Sleep wasn’t on his mind after that. He knew they would never be anything like the characters in Ethan Frome. Sledding into a tree is a horrible way to do something horrible like commit suicide.

But he was able to relate to Frome. He fucked up every chance he had, and not just with her, but with every other girl before her, too. He’s a walking shit-show, but he never stops caring.

One of the prettiest girls he ever had a chance with invited him to a party. He went and they had a good time until her ex showed up. She asked him to go outside with her while she smoked a cigarette.

“I like you, but I don’t know how it can work,” she says.

She starts getting into her life with her ex, how it sucked, and why he’s her ex. He payed no attention to anything she was saying, until she rested her head on his shoulder. He does nothing. Doesn’t wrap his arm around his shoulder, nothing to say, just smiles. It wasn’t enough. He knew it right away and still did nothing. She resented this and he picked it up in her eyes. The next morning, after driving home from Queens at four in the morning, no texts from her. Nothing. Last time they spoke, she told him about the guy he was seeing.

His anxiety comes from a number of places. The origin is still fresh in his head. In high school, he met his one and only girlfriend. They were never happy together. There were always accusations of her cheating. He didn’t believe them at first. Haters are always looking to bring others down. What he didn’t realize was that those “haters” were his friends actually looking out for him. One day she told him while she was on vacation, she was with three guys in one night. It destroyed him, but he didn’t break up with her on the spot. When they did break up, he also found out his best friend at the time was with her while they dated. Now every time he starts something new, he has make himself believe that not all girls are like that. It usually works out, but it always comes back to haunt him.

She’s different, though. Being around her doesn’t give him anxiety like any of the other girls. The opposite happens. He can talk to her and know she won’t judge him. If she’s upset, he doesn’t immediately assume it’s his fault because he’s too focused on doing whatever it takes to make her feel better. When he finally gets that smile, he believes that there’s nothing else to live for than for her.

But there’s something in her that keeps her from climbing up the last step. They can be together. He wants it. He believes she wants it. But something’s in the way. He won’t push it, though. It’s for her to figure out. She knows she can go to him at any time. His phone is always on. Things are still fresh enough to start over if they commit to it. They barely started in the first place, but something is there.

If he’s not reading or writing, he’s at the gym or running through the woods. He’s been sick from the stress for the past week or two, but he never misses a workout. He has to stay busy. Destroying himself is the only way he knows how to do it. Luckily, people look up to those that are committed to physical activity, so they assume I’m doing well. If he keeps telling himself he’s doing well, maybe he’ll believe it himself and things will turn out okay. It motivates him to run faster and lift more.

When he gets home, he immediately goes to the shower. He turns on the water, and with it comes all the memories of her. While he runs, there’s no time to think. In the shower, thoughts rush out faster than the water. The shower has always been the one place outside of his writing where everything can escape.

He has a dream of taking her to his house upstate. They walk through the wildflowers, picking them as they go along to put in a vase. The flowers they pick are the ones he grew from seed. In his mind, they were always for someone else. He’s lucky that she’s the one that gets to enjoy them. She deserves to be happy, and he’s happy he can be the one to provide her with it. He’ll cook her pasta with sauce on the side and build her a fire from nothing but paper and twigs to keep her warm. He’ll scare her by throwing a christmas tree on the fire so the flames go as high as the house. They’ll share a bottle of wine and watch a movie and go to bed. Or they’ll go out to the bars and listen to the crazy fucked up music at Snug’s, and meet up with the guy that buys pitchers of cider for himself, the one that does coke with his mother and thinks acid is safer than shrooms. It’s very romantic.

The point is that he wants to be with her. Everything he does, he wants her there with him. He wants her at her best and worst. When he runs that stupid twelve-mile race, he wants her on his mind the entire time. He wants to believe he’s doing it for her. He never expected to feel this way. He thought the age difference would be all the difference. In reality, it means nothing. She knew that. She told him. He nodded his head, and didn’t believe her. He does now. He admits he’s wrong. Age is just a number. How they feel means everything.

He can go out any night of the week, hook up with anyone he meets, and it’s just a temporary high, but when he closes his eyes, he’s somewhere with you.

I Just Remembered How I First Became a Writer

I was thinking about how I first got into writing a couple days ago. I thought it happened in college, when I decided to major in English, when I realized that I was taking more writing classes than surveys. It was a big part in me becoming a writer. If it wasn’t for college, I wouldn’t have realized I had a talent for it, but it wasn’t the first time I wrote.

The first time–naturally–has a story to it. Here it is:

Growing up in my family was–I don’t want to say tough–very difficult. My father isn’t easy to please and is incredibly strict. My mother was my source of safety, but there were times where she had no choice but to back my father up. And in my family, if you are upset, you can’t express it. Incredibly tough, nearly impossible for someone not even ten years old, me.

If you’ve read some of my non fiction work, you’ll know I have a brother with a severe case of autism and down syndrome, and another on the spectrum, but for the most part, normal. We won’t focus on the latter.

My brother, Peter, feeds off our emotions. He doesn’t need to know why we’re happy or sad to laugh or cry. Innocence at its finest. I’ll always love him for it. But it also ruined me in the long term. I was always very emotional. I always cried. And I always got in trouble for it, or was told to go away and cry so my brother can’t see.

One day, when I was very little, I don’t remember exactly what I was doing, but I know I hurt myself playing in the house. It was enough for me to cry. My parents rush in, making sure I’m okay. I remember that I wasn’t so I started crying louder. My brother was in the room next to me and heard me. I was told to calm down, so I don’t upset Peter.

It was already too late. He heard enough. Tears started coming down his face, and my mother tried to comfort him, but he started yelling and scratching. When she backed off, he got worse and started hitting his head against the wall as hard as he can. It was loud enough to hear through the wall and into the living room. I was still upset, but that no longer mattered.

My parents went from trying to comfort me to being forced to yell at me. My sadness immediately turned to anger. I never hated them more in my life. But there was no way to express it. I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t yell back. I needed a way to let it out. I couldn’t bottle it up anymore.

I went into my basement and started to draw. I was always horrible, I still am, and never enjoyed it as much as I wished I had. I don’t know what happened after, or what inspired me–a muse found me, maybe–but I just started writing. The paper was messy and I couldn’t find any looseleaf. I didn’t want to check my father’s desk and mess anything up, so I used computer paper. I even drew my own lines on the paper with a ruler. I was dedicated, in another world where something like this is normal. I wrote down everything that happened, similar to what I’m doing right now.

I poured my heart out onto that piece of paper. I couldn’t stop it. I was even scared at how easy it was. I knew I had to, though, if I wanted to feel better. When I was done, I read it over, and liked what I had done. I couldn’t throw it out, but I couldn’t just keep it lying around for someone to find. So I hid it. Near my dad’s desk, of course.

I don’t know how long it took for them to find it. But I know they did because the next time I got in trouble, my mother decided to call me out on it, telling me not to do that again. At the time, it was just an idea. I had no urgency to write again. What I hated more was the fact that she found it. Telling me not to write wasn’t a big deal. I was I can’t do what I want my entire life. So that was the last time I wrote for a long time. Not until college, did I start writing again, and not until a year after I graduated, did i realize that this was the original reason.

Why did I write this now? I bet you can guess. Something shitty just happened, again. I’m not going to get into it yet. If I’m not too tired when I get home from work, I’ll write something for you guys. This is going to sound terrible and depressing and cliche, but you really don’t learn who you are until you hit rock bottom, where things get so bad, you truly believe there’s no way out. But then you find a way out. My way is with paper and pen–in this case a keyboard, but you know what I mean. I won’t let what happened get to me because I know what I have to do. I will move forward because I have no other choice. It’s a constant battle not feeling selfish for having feelings. I haven’t won yet, but I will.

When did you first realize you were a writer?

Deer in the Fields

CSC_1236

Yes, this is just a picture of a deer in a field behind my backyard upstate, but the story of how I got this is much more exciting. I was thinking about writing a fiction piece related to the picture, but there’s no need. I’m going to just tell you guys exactly what happened.

 

Deer in the Fields

I’m with my uncle, taking pictures of the trails we’re walking on, looking for butterflies floating over the tall grasses that hide the yellow and white wildflowers.

We stop briefly to talk about how people subconsciously love the idea of being in fields. My uncle tells me that people will say they love being in open fields and meadows, but they aren’t sure why. The reason, he says, is because they aren’t looking close enough. When you stop and really look closely, you see tiny flowers and on those flowers, tiny insects, all hidden underneath the tall grasses that bigger insects use to rest on. Slithering through the grass are snakes, and watching from their perches located on or close to the treeline are hawks and other birds of prey, like turkey vultures. Chipmunks stay close to the rock wall that divides my property from someone else’s, calling the wall home, along with the rotten tree trunks still standing upright and filled with holes, like windows on a sky scraper. Life, my uncle continues to stress, can be found in all corners of the world, and it’s all beautiful.

Butterflies, as expected, are prevalent in the field, so we follow them around, hoping for the “perfect shot.” I already have the “perfect shot” hanging on the door leading to my basement. It’s a picture of a bumble bee and a tiger swallowtail collecting the nectar of a wild thistle plant. We both hoped to get a shot similar to that, but the butterflies were filled with energy and it was still early in the morning, so we couldn’t keep up.

We take a quick break and talk more about random things and I notice what looks  like a bird flapping its wings on the ground no less than a hundred yards away. I tell my uncle and he goes to investigate. The “wings” I saw turned out to be the ears of a deer, resting in the bed it made from the matted down grass. I wondered how it couldn’t see us considering how close we were and how loud we were, but then we realized the wind was blowing favorably towards us and loud enough to dull out the noise we were making.

My uncle saw this as an opportunity to see how close we could get and I quickly imagined how easily we could have downed it if we were into hunting. Each step we took created tons of noise. We had to maneuver through vines and shrubs, and as we did this, we inevitably broke sticks and made enough noise to spook it if the odds were in the deer’s favor. Next thing we know, we’re no less than fifteen yards away from a full grown doe, still completely unaware of our presence. I take out my camera, which only had a 35mm lens attached, and manage to take a clear picture. I knew I would have to crop it later, but I was still amazed at how close I was.

The deer finally heard us when my uncle took a picture with his camera and darted off. We were ready to head back when my uncle, this time, spotted another deer (the deer in the picture above). To make a long story short, we crept up on it the same way, wondering how it missed its buddy run off. Again, we took pictures and my uncle let me do the honors of seeing how close I could get.

I managed to get within the same distance as the last one, but this deer considered standing its ground, and rightfully so. The deer flapped its ears and grunted, while slowly coming closer to me. I slowly backed off, but it kept coming. The thought of being in serious trouble for pushing my luck entered my mind and I looked back at my uncle, who reassured me that I was doing the right thing. The second I turned my head back to the deer, it grunted loudly, figuratively giving me a heart attack, and it darted off in the opposite direction.

Raising a Child With Down’s Syndrome and Autism

I’ve been going back and forth, deciding whether or not I should post this online. I wrote this for my non fiction writing class at Queens College and I finally figured that if I could write this and allow a professor–who knows nothing about me–to read it, there’s no reason why you guys can’t. I wanted it to be as honest as possible. I hope you guys see that.

 

Raising A Child With Down’s Syndrome and Autism

My brother Peter is 19 years old and was born with Down’s Syndrome and Autism. People with Down’s Syndrome are born with an extra chromosome. They suffer from mental disabilities (depending on the severity), and also suffer from physical problems, which include: being prone to seizures, having specific physical features like small ears and noses, and heart defects. Autism is a very common disease in the United States, where one in less than 100 children are diagnosed each year. People that suffer from Autism usually have problems communicating with other people and expressing themselves to others. My brother Peter is no exception to these diseases, making life tough for my mother and father.

Before my father retired, he worked in Flushing, New York as a Special Education Teacher for over 20 years. He was a teacher before Peter was born, so there was no direct influence between his birth and the decision to teach Special Education. My father needed the job because he had just been laid off as an English teacher and knew there were openings available. He found that teaching Special Education was a very depressing job because his emotionally and intellectually handicapped students were having a significant amount of trouble behaving, and there was nothing he could do to fix their problems. My father was able to come home to me and my mother, which relieved him from his stressful job. When Peter was born, my father felt worse about his life because he was forced to take a job that he did not want, and then come home to Peter, who has his own developmental disabilities. Although he could not escape this unexpected life, he learned more about the developmentally disabled at his job and applied it to raising Peter. Some of the things he learned, like having more patience with the children and controlling his emotions made his very difficult life a little easier.

My father did not know that Peter had Down’s Syndrome before he was born. It was shocking to my father and he described it as a “worst day of your life” moment. Unfortunately, Peter was also suffering from the effects of a bad heart. Doctors call this the Tetralogy of Fallot, which is described as: someone having a hole in their heart, insufficient valves, a small pulmonary artery, and thickening of the ventricle wall (National Institute of Health). These all lead to an insufficient supply of oxygen to the brain and can cause death unless open heart surgery is performed. The surgery was performed on Peter while he was less than a year old and cost my parents a lot of money that they did not have. My father said the operation cost about 100,000 dollars, but insurance and other programs helped bring the costs down. I asked my father what he thinks could be done to make these processes easier and he said that the government should have a bigger role in helping families like ours. It was very difficult for my parents to find out how to get help and where to look, which caused large amounts of stress and anxiety. If my father did not go so far to find out more about these programs, they would have been in debt and never get the opportunity to move out of Astoria, New York.

After Peter’s surgery and then being diagnosed with Autism a few years afterwards, the constant stress that comes with raising my brother never left. My father knew that he was not going to live the life he imagined and needed to figure out how to cope with the fact nothing could be done to change it. To successfully raise Peter, my father had to swallow his own ego and learn to be prepared for anything, understanding that Peter is the victim. My father said that he did not feel embarrassed about bringing Peter out in public, but struggled with the fact that Peter behaves the same way a regular baby would. If he needed to go to the bathroom, he would go wherever he was. He could only do so much to prevent this from occurring, like taking him to the bathroom beforehand; but if he has an upset stomach, there’s no way for him to say he feels sick and he will release his bowels. If we are in a restaurant, Peter yells like a baby that cannot speak, which often results in awkward looks from other people. There is no way for him to communicate to us and vica versa, which sometimes leaves us clueless on how to calm Peter down and prevent these situations from arising.

My father said that he never really looked to other families for any kind of help, advice, or inspiration for Peter, but understood that he was not alone. He felt that there was nothing that they could say to make him feel any better about Peter because he will still be the same. My mother likes to look to these families for motivation and inspiration, while my dad has a more realistic and honest perspective. My father knows that nothing will change, so he pays more attention to the positives that Peter gives us. An example of this is maintaining his childhood innocence. Like myself, my father understands that Peter is the “victim” and does not let his own ego control his thought process. He understands his role in Peter’s life and does whatever he can to give Peter the best possible life. My father also knows that Peter is a very loving child who is constantly getting better and better at showing it to us. Peter has maintained the innocence of a child that we all wish to get back, which helps my father get past the challenges of raising an autistic child.

Peter’s innocence comes in a variety of forms. One example is that he finds enjoyment in the simplest of things. This ranges from seeing someone else laugh, to watching Barney and various home videos. His expression of happiness is very contagious and always makes me feel better when I’m upset. Another form of Peter’s innocence is his ability to forgive. Peter is very good at finding ways to annoy me and my father. For example, Peter repeatedly plays specific parts of his movies for long periods of time at loud volumes. My father is a very patient man, but like everyone else, he has his braking point, resulting in Peter getting yelled at. Peter does get upset because he sees my father upset, but this only lasts for a short time. He never holds a grudge and will act like nothing happened after we play with him. Every day, Peter expresses his love for us, no matter what happens. We all hope to find someone like this in our lives and I am fortunate enough to call this person my brother. Many families might experience this with a new born baby or a brand new pet, but the dog cannot talk, and the baby grows up. Peter will always be the same, making him unique.

My father openly admits to being a very pessimistic person that often lets his anxieties control the way he acts. He understands that this is not close to what he considers to be an ideal life, but he never lets it get in the way of Peter’s life. He made the decision to keep Peter, so he does whatever he can to make him happy. My father feels that ego plays the most important role in raising a child like Peter because raising a child with Down’s Syndrome and Autism is an extremely difficult job for anyone. When asked about his opinion on families that choose whether or not they will keep their baby that is developmentally disabled like Peter, he felt that it is up to the parents to decide if they can put their own egos aside to focus their attention towards the child. He would hate to see a family keep their child because they feel it’s necessary, rather than actually wanting to. I share this outlook with my father and I think that this is the question every parent that faces this situation should ask before making a decision.

Peter is 19 years old with an IQ of a two year old baby. The reality of the situation is that he will never change, even when he is a grown man. My father and I understand this situation and try not to let it get to us. However, I wake up eager to see my brother while my father wakes up worrying about the possibility of cleaning his wet bed. He is more responsible for Peter than I am, which naturally gives him more anxiety, but also relies on me to help out by watching over Peter. Like my mother, I look at other families for motivation and inspiration, understanding that my dad is correct when he says that they cannot change our situation. There is so much your family can do to help you cheer up, but it’s very easy to feel like you’re the only one going through these issues.

Watching my father raise Peter and helping him when he needs it made me realize that the world is not the fairytale where everything works out perfectly. Like Peter, life has many flaws, but we can’t let those flaws hold us back. Sometimes we have to dig our feet in the ground and play with the cards we are dealt. By accepting Peter for who he is, and not worrying about how others might perceive him, the good that exists in him, like his childhood innocence and desire to see everyone around him happy, help make the seemingly impossible task of raising him a little easier.