AJ is a gift

caleb blog1Having a brother can be looked as having a curse or a blessing.   Fights occur daily and arguing is a way of life.  However, brothers are an essential part of a person’s life.  They provide a sense of companionship and a friendship no one can compare to. Without a brother, there is a hole in one’s life that nothing or no one can fill.

My name is Caleb Choi.  I am currently thirteen years old and I am in eighth grade.  I am what you can describe as a normal kid.  I enjoy “hanging out” with friends and I loathe school.  However, I have something in my life that none of my friends can relate to.  I have a brother named A.J.  He has Down Syndrome.

Down Syndrome is a disability that can make the person slightly different in physical characteristics.  People with Down Syndrome tend to have slanted eyes, small noses, and speech disorders that vary in severity.  Even with these physical setbacks, my brother is more able than half of my friends.  He is gifted in physical sports and loves to do puzzles.  I love my brother and he is such a joy to be around.  He loves to joke around and play sports.  However, having a brother with a disability has been hard for me as well.caleb blog2

A.J is older than me, but I had to grow up quick and take charge like an oldest brother.  It puts momentous pressure upon me, but I have grown to appreciate what it has done for me.  Sadly, this disability has put a limit on the amount of activities I can do with my older brother. I can’t play sports with him, nor can I even do the simplest of things that I do with my friends with him. With his disability, I feel as if I have a little brother I have to take care of.  A.J having Down Syndrome means that he cannot have as many friends who understand him as well as I do.  He can’t “hang” with me or my friends and I feel the world looks at kids with a disability differently.  It breaks my heart when I see people stay away from A.J thinking that he is too different to be around when in reality, he is the same as you and me.  I feel the world needs to realize that kids with disabilities are special and are regular people with special differences.  A.J is a real friend and those who keep their distance miss out on his sense of humor and kindness he displays daily.

caleb blog3However, with a brother with Down syndrome, it can be very hard on me.  My friends don’t understand the responsibility I must carry to take care of A.J and to make sure he is happy and safe.  It puts emotional weights on my shoulders and I sometimes feel our lives would be easier if A.J didn’t have this disability.  Then, while I was upset I realized something.  God placed A.J in our lives to show us that not everything goes our way.  However, in the end God has a plan and I know God will use A.J to show us his plan for us.  If anything, A.J is what we needed all along. We needed A.J to humble us and to show us that God’s perfect plan involves A.J.

A.J is someone who can never be replaced.  He is special in his own way.  He is not normal.  I will admit it.  But answer me this, what is the definition of normal?  A.J is what you call special.  He is not “retarded” and he is not “stupid”. He is someone who God has placed in this world for a reason.  A reason no one knows for sure yet, but a reason God knows of and will work for all of us in the end.  I am thankful to God for providing me such a wonderful brother who has humbled me in so many ways.  A.J is my brother and he can never be replaced.

Comments (4)

  • Jinhwa Chun

    February 2, 20154:05 am

    Such a heartwarming and honest essay. AJ is lucky to have you as his brother. And I always ask the same question. What’s the definition of normal anyway?

  • Chachi

    February 2, 20154:37 pm

    Well said Caleb, God has placed AJ with the perfect family for him so that God can show his perfect plan for your lives. And how fortunate you both are to have each other, no one knows you as well as AJ does and none knows as well as you do what an awesome, talented loving brother you have. Your relationship is so blessed in many different ways. You can see!
    Much love and blessings to your family from a mom who also has a special gift named Max.

  • Jenny

    February 2, 201511:32 pm

    What an awesome brother and human being you are Caleb. A.J is also very lucky to have you as a brother too. At times, I also felt your frustration and the responsibilities on your shoulder, but you have amazed me how you carry yourself in those moments. I have admired you secretly in my heart and thanked God for your patience and love for your two brother. A.J. is a gift from God and we love him so dearly!

  • Samantha Schnee

    February 10, 20154:41 am

    Dear Caleb,
    I am so touched and impressed by you. At such an early age, you are already so mature. Your story is written so eloquently. Just like mom, you have your compelling story to tell and I thank you sharing. Your courage is so evident, and I just know you are the best kind of brother to both of your bros. I wish that when Evan grows older, he is as kind and generous of a brother. You, Caleb, are a wonderful role model. The Schnees all love you lots and are so proud of you. See you soon, buddy.

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