Happy Birthday, Christopher

May is a significant month for our family. This month, we celebrate my brother Christopher’s 51st birthday. This month also marks the 2nd anniversary of his passing.

When I think of Chris (born with Down syndrome) and the occasion of his birthday, I can’t help but smile. Finding a gift for Chris was always such fun because no matter his age, I would find myself in the toy section…usually in the toddler aisle. Although born 8 years before me, Chris was eternally my little brother, frozen in time because his intellectual development did not progress past the age of 3.

Chris really enjoyed the simple things in life like a burger and fries, Superman, and Sesame Street characters. The best gifts would be those that are simple and accessible, where a push of a button would make the toy move or make a sound. And if it could be funny, all the better!

I will always remember when our dad presented him with a “farting trumpet” (yes, a small handheld toy megaphone that produced an exaggerated passing of gas), and to Chris that toy was life changing. Whenever he needed to elicit a laugh, he simply pushed the button and lit up.

I wish it were that simple for me. Even a new Tesla wouldn’t do for me what my brother’s toy did for him. He didn’t need anything to produce immense joy and laughter, as he would just sporadically go into hysterics out of seemingly nowhere.

In my opinion, that was one of his many superpowers. A power we see in children and envy as we age. Where does it go? Does it just get buried as the day’s news piles up? I can’t remember the last time I had a full belly laugh to where I rolled on the floor with tears in my eyes. However, I could at least live vicariously through my brother. We all fed from his infectious joy.

I miss you brother. We all miss you.

My eternal love,