My mom and dad called me into the living room because they wanted to tell me something important. I don’t remember getting into trouble or failing a test lately so it couldn’t be that. Maybe it was good news? Would we finally be getting the dirt bikes I’d been asking for since forever ago? That has to be it! Wow now I’m kind of excited but I can’t let them see that I know, alright I need to keep a straight face and chill out. I walked in and they were standing side by side with big smiles on their faces, this had to be it! “Honey, for a while now we’ve been discussing a very important decisions we want to make….” I kind of drowned out most of the stuff they said after that because I was imagining all the sick gear I would save up for once I had my bike. All of a sudden I snapped out of it and I heard them say, “We want to adopt another kid!” Wait what? I admit that it wasn’t at all what I was expecting but I was actually kind of excited. They went on and told me that they had already found a kid that we could adopt and they were going to meet her and bring her home next weekend. It was kind of awkward because I didn’t really know what to say, but I was really excited.
Allie was my age and was going to start her sophomore year with me next week on the first day of school. She’s about five four and has blonde hair, but that’s where the normality ends. I was laying on the couch watching TV when my mom and dad walked in with her. When I heard them come in I got up and walked to the door to greet them and introduce myself. When I saw her it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. She had Down’s Syndrome. I just looked at her, said a quick, ”Hey, nice to meet you” and then looked in disbelief at my mom and dad. What the heck was wrong with them? They didn’t tell me about this. They didn’t even notice my shock.
I imagined what my life would be like now that I had a sister with a disability. Our whole life would revolve around making her feel comfortable, standing up for her and making sure nobody made fun of her without getting an intense, and very passionate lecture. I was right. She wasn’t even with us for one day before my mom began doing thorough research about her kind of people. By the end of week one she had already joined about a million clubs and organizations that supported Down’s Syndrome. My mom was constantly helping Allie with everything. Oh yeah, by the way they treated her like a queen and were so caught up in meeting her every need that they kind of forgot that they had another kid that was normal but also needed a little bit of attention too.
It was considered a sin for me to want to get away from the house and every day they begged me to have some long, deep, and loving conversations with her. How could they expect me to be chill and treat her like she was normal and just another one of my friends, when she was the opposite? I never understood how the special education teachers could deal with that kind of kid. Yeah, I’ll smile at her when she says hey, and I say what’s up to the kids like her at school but I’m never going to be able to act like, let alone believe that, “They’re just another teenager.”
The first day of school was filled with questions I didn’t want to answer and conversations I didn’t want to be in. My dad told me I had to walk into school with her and take her to meet her teacher. That I could handle, but when people other than my parents started calling her my sister and congratulating me on the new addition to my family I really started to get mad. It wasn’t fair that I had to answer all the questions they wanted to ask her. They shouldn't punish me because she has issues.
Third period was the worst. Allie was in my class and guess who she wanted to sit next to? That would be me. The whole class thought it was adorable when she introduced herself and told them that I was her new brother and she loved me very much. When I told my friend Paul that it was embarrassing he replied by telling me I was a jerk and that I needed to chill out. Why does everyone defend her? I’m not being a jerk, I’m just saying the truth.
I told my mom and dad every day that I didn’t feel comfortable being in the same class with her and they needed to switch her out. They both got really mad and tried to tell me how wrong I was and that I should be happy that I have a chance to be her older brother and that I should think of it as learning experience. I just walked out and went into my room because I’d had enough of the lectures and being told I was wrong.
A few days later I put on a show to get my parents off my back and helped Allie with her homework. When I was done and she was happy with her success, she gave me a big hug, looked me in the eyes and told me that she was so lucky to have a brother that loved her as much as I did. I felt a little guilty and I had no idea what to say so I just smiled and said thank you. I walked away with tang of guilt. I've never even pretended that I loved her so why does she care so much about me? These feeling only affected me until the next morning but they faded instantly once my dad told me it was Down’s Syndrome awareness day in one of their clubs and my mom handed me a T- shirt that promoted the awareness. I was so angry at them. I looked at them both and then pointed towards the door of Allie’s room. “ Just because she has issues does not mean I’m going to revolve my life around telling the whole world!”
I went to school mad and avoided Allie the whole day. For weeks I didn’t really talk to her or my parents. One day was a little different though. During math this kid Derrick said something to me about how annoying it was when we had to stop, and the teacher had to re-explain things just because Allie needed more time. I looked at him and realized I was mad. In my mind I defended her and then I flat out told him to shut up. After I said it, he just looked at me surprised and didn’t say anything else. I was so confused with what I just did and felt but I didn’t really know if I should apologize to him or not. When I got home from school the first thing my mom did was smile and hand me a piece of paper. I looked at it and noticed that it was an essay that Allie had written. The title was, “My Brother” and the whole essay was about me. She mentioned all the times that I had done something nice for her. There weren’t very many, but she remembered everyone of them. After I’d read it I couldn’t help myself from smiling and feeling something I hadn’t felt for her before. I looked at her, “I love you too Allie.”