Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: A Holly Story
I’m writing this on May 18, which is my sister’s birthday. She’s ten years younger than I am, and has Down Syndrome. This is always a good week to share what I call a “Holly Story.”
A couple years back, Holly was helping me deliver pork to various customers. We had picked up the cut and wrapped hogs at the butcher shop and stopped for one of her favorite fast food lunches – super nachos, which we ate as we drove.
The first customer we met was Jim. He is a jovial, tall, stout man with a full head of white hair, and matching beard. I suspect he gets asked to play Santa regularly. They probably have to add a pillow for his belly, but he would not need a mic in order for the entire room to hear his, “Ho, Ho, Ho.” He’s a great guy, a good customer, and fun to visit with.
We pulled up alongside Jim at our meeting spot, and I rolled down the passenger window as he got out of his vehicle. He walked over, and I introduced him to Holly.
Jim said, “Hi Holly, nice to meet you! I see you are the sister that got all the looks in the family.”
In response, my sister delicately moved no less than two, and more likely three-to-four super nacho chips to the side of her mouth, looked up at him, grinned, then shook her head up and down.
Her reaction made Jim’s day, and he was still laughing as I got out to help load his pork. To this day he occasionally asks how Holly is doing.
My entire family has countless stories like this that star Holly. Her birthday is beyond memorable, as she arrived three months early. However, her resulting life has been even more impactful than her arrival. I think that in simplifying the human brain in people like my sister, God primarily removes the aspects that cause people to focus on earthly things, while leaving the parts that are of greatest importance in His eyes.
Here’s the other thing. Any of us blessed with the gift of a child or children are given a perfect child or children. Each child is a gift from God, and they are made perfectly by God, specifically and especially for the family He gives them to, for however long He deems.
In this day of pushing for the elimination of any human being that isn’t perfect in regard to timing, convenience, choice, and certainly for any perceived or known health issue, I feel that is an extra important point.
If you ever find yourself faced with that decision, take it from my authority as a sibling of a special needs person – they’re as perfect and as important to your family as any “normal” child could be. Probably more so, as they can teach important things, and reach lost people, that none of us in our normalcy can teach or reach.
Is it hard? Yes, it is. I can’t imagine the challenges as a parent. However, I have two kids that are completely normal by earthly standards, and they’re hard, too. All kids are hard, but they are a worthy hard, worth celebrating. Each and every one of them.
Happy birthday to my sister, who I am certain I would look an awful lot like if she didn’t have Down Syndrome.
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