A few weeks ago, I shared the experience of Bryce inferring that all the attention goes to Bailey. Truth be told, more time is spent advocating for his brother. Despite having Down syndrome, the government is always requiring “proof” or is lowering his disability benefits because maybe one week out of the month he made a little more money. At $8.25 an hour, Bailey is not going to be a millionaire. I navigate, tweak, and gather information, benefits, and chauffeur to doctor’s appointments. At 21, he still needs me…..more than Bryce does.
Bryce is fiercely independent, sensitive, and most of all, a teenager with a mouth. Recently, he had expressed his displeasure with all the time and attention that Bailey receives. Although I felt hurt, I was a bit amused when Bailey responded with a resounding, “Wow, Bryce is jealous of me!”, and then flipped him the bird. It was hard not to laugh.
I don’t force their relationship. When Bailey had the opportunity to work at Trinity, we did have a conversation with Bryce about it. He was supportive and encouraging which was such a gift as I never want him to feel that his thoughts and concerns are secondary to Bailey. They see each other everyday as Bryce goes through the lunch line. There is humorous banter sprinkled with a touch of annoyance on Bailey’s part.
Yesterday, when Bryce went on his junior retreat, the group was split into two. One group went to spend time with the elderly while others were sent to play games at an adult day care for individuals with special needs. God really works in amazing ways as Bryce was sent to the establishment catering to individuals like his brother. They were told that these individuals love to hug, that some have verbal delays that may be hard to understand, and the list goes on. They were also given options if they were uncomfortable. Bryce didn’t share with anyone that his own brother has Down syndrome as that isn’t the essence of my son. A lot of people know and others don’t. He doesn’t feel it necessary to broadcast it as it is a component of his life, not something that defines him.
When he came home, he was sharing the irony of how God’s plan works……how he appreciated his brother even more because of the experience and how he found God’s sense of humor mildly annoying. It was a shining example of how my Higher Power works diligently in all our lives to simply show us a different perspective on a situation that we might be struggling with or that we feel burdened by.
I know that there will be times in the future that Bryce’s frustration regarding his brother will bubble up, but I am savoring that at this moment, he has a deep appreciation for the obstacles that we have gone through for Bailey and that our love for both of them doesn’t have any limitations.