My eyes jolt open, and I am awake before the alarm can set off. I leave my kids with my husband, gather up a thick binder and planner full of medical records, and a snack for the trip. As I pull in the driveway and park at my mothers house, I check my planner one more time, “Yup, he’s got a doctor’s appointment alright.” My mom has already been awake a few hours earlier to care of David, my youngest brother of 8 kids, and 1 of 2 mentally challenged members in our family. He’s a ball of energy, running around with a huge grin and always wanting to play, while my Mom is tired, wearing the same clothes from yesterday, and with thinning gray hair that she tries to hide with dye. David is always excited and can manage to lift my mom’s spirits as she carries his many bags to the car. “Who are we seeing this time? The audiologist, opthamologist, urologist, diabetic clinic, or G.I. pediatric?” I tell her it’s the diabetic clinic she lets out a heavy sigh, brushes off David’s cheeks, and says “I hope we get good news.”
I am my mother’s right hand man, I take care of all the doctors appointments, paperwork, and any business that comes to David’s way. However, my mother is David’s main caregiver and is always by his side. She is the most resilient and strong-willed person I know, a woman of many struggles and sacrifices, a mother who is always fighting to give her children all she can. When I lived at home, I always helped as much as I could, but now that I have my own family, I cannot even compare my daily duties to that of my mom and what she does for both of her disabled sons, especially for David.
He’s a really special little guy, and when I say little, I mean it. He was born with a fused kidney, which hindered his growing for many years. On top of that he has a genetic abnormality known as 4-8 translocation chromosome, which translates to a severe case of mental disability, and type 1 diabetes. Through all the hardships and tears, my Mother has kept her head high. Her mood and emotions directly reflect how David’s day is going, and her happiness is measured by the numbers on David’s blood glucose levels. But above all else, nothing warms her heart more than to see David dressed up, a brand new backpack on his shoulders, and walking him hand in hand to the bus. For each of the times he was promoted from elementary school, onto middle school, and now in high school, the sight of seeing him progress through life has brought so much joy into my Mother’s eyes. Although she is in her late 50’s, she glows with pride and excitement to see him achieve so much when doctors expected so little from him.
David now attends high school, and even though he’s enrolled in classes with other special needs kids, he still has a bunch of ”normal” high school friends. David’s goofy smile and confident high fives never fails to impress anyone; whether it’s at a bowling event, a school dance, a doctors appointment, or just meeting someone new, he can always make people smile. My mom knows very little english, so I’m writing this essay and sharing our story on her behalf. When I asked her to answer the prompt, she said, “I’m happy when David’s happy, and the greatest reward is when he can give me a high five.”