March is trisomy awareness month. The most common trisomy is trisomy 21 which causes Down’s syndrome manifested by learning difficulties and classic facial features. This poem describes a woman’s younger brother born with Down syndrome.
Even though I was only four years old
I sensed something was wrong without being told
My baby brother was about to be born
My mother told me with an expression forlorn
That he would be “extra” special, little did I know
The “extra” was chromosome 21, that came as a blow
To my parents who were visibly upset
Of course I did not know who we would get..
Then you were born, and unfortunately
Tears flowing down my mother’s cheeks incessantly
You looked so beautiful, I could see
That you were extra special for me
I thought you were coming home but no
You had open heart surgery to undergo..
When you first entered our lives we were tense
And terrified, but gradually your presence
Brought unbridled joy in our household
Your cheerful demeanor was able to mold
All of us, we were used to being fast and impulsive
You made us slow down, be more attentive
To you and to everyone else around
You taught us patience, brought changes profound
In how we viewed the world who thought
You were disabled- but you are not
You are capable of independent thought
My baby brother, to me you have been
My closest confidant, you have seen
Me go through travails of adolescence
And calmed me down with your presence
Now you are a precious uncle to my son
You know exactly how to have fun
With a child, because you still possess
The innocence of a child, which I confess
I have lost irretrievably in growing old
You have your pristine heart of gold..
You are that blessing for our family
We had not known, we could not foresee
You are “extra” in ways more than one
Far beyond the extra chromosome 21..