One could say caring for a Downs Syndrome child is one thing or another depending on perspective. I had the honor of caring for Downs Syndrome brothers who enriched my life beyond my wildest dreams. A teenager at the time, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I was asked to babysit kids who were almost the same age as me. I will call the boys Ted and Tim. They were 12 and 10, respectively.
Tim, the younger boy, would look out for Ted and even told me a couple of times, “Hey, it’s time for Ted’s snack.” Both boys were very happy and content with their lives. I expected them to be upset when their parents left, but they just waved and said, “Byyyyyyyye!” Just like other kids they watched television, danced, and flipped through picture books.
Ted and Tim were so happy and laughed easily. It quickly became my mission to make them laugh every chance I got. While Tim was more of a giggler, Ted’s laughter would ring out and hang out for a while. It started slowly with an “Ahhhhhhhhh-ha-ha-ha, hehehe”. This we get all of us laughing. Laughter was a way of life for these two wonderful boys. They would laugh if I flipped a pancake, or pretended to trip, or made silly faces at them. Laugh, they would, and make faces back.
Ted’s storytelling remains unparalleled. As whatever tale they were telling unfolded, Ted, in particular, would gesticulate wildly. There was nothing small about his world! “There was a BIG dog…” he would say with a heavy lisp, his arms spreading out widely to show me and Tim just how big the dog was. Unless it was a baby elephant, I think he must have been seeing things in a bit of a distorted manner, but it was Ted’s story and we loved to hear them, so we let him talk about how “the BIG dog walked down the LOOOOOONG street and then it was furry, and hungry, and nice so I give it food and it wagged its tail and licked my face, remember Tim?” he would ask? Tim always said, “Yep yep, I remember! Do you know Dog?” he would ask me.
I will never forget the last time I saw them, they were moving away, and Tim gave me a big hug and said, “We love you, Miss Lynne!” I loved them too.