Bridget's Light

Our Little Sister

A Regular Baby
(Bridget’s Arrival)
Written by big sister Sara on her 11th birthday

Bridget looked just like a regular baby.  She didn’t look any different than I thought she would.  She was really beautiful and sweet, but I was worried about her health and what her life would be like.  I was sad about all the things she might not be able to do.  When I first saw her, I remember exploding into tears.  I don’t know exactly why—I just did.  I felt a mix of emotions.  I was excited that she was born, but I was also a little disappointed.  I was just hoping for a regular baby that we could take home in a couple of days. 

I’m 11 and the oldest of five now that Bridget is here.  I thought our family was big enough already with my two little brothers and one sister.  When my mom told me she was pregnant with number five, I cried.  I was happy—and surprised—and a little worried about the added responsibility of having another younger sibling.  I had no idea how all of our lives would change the day she was born.

We were all supposed to wear pink t-shirts to the hospital to meet our new baby sister.   But, she was almost six weeks early and the shirts we ordered had not arrived yet.  My dad came to pick us up, and we had to hurry because Bridget needed surgery and was being moved to a different hospital.  When we got there, I could tell my mom had been crying.  She said Bridget would be fine, but that there was something other than the surgery that we needed to know about.  “Bridget has Down syndrome,” she said quietly.  We talked about what that meant as a family for only a few minutes before the nurses brought our new baby sister to see us. 

As I looked at her, I felt sad that she couldn’t come home with us.  I didn’t like seeing her in that plastic bed with all the tubes and wires attached to her.  I wondered how long she would be in the hospital and what life would be like once she came home.  I did not know what to expect. 

After her surgery, I spent many hours at the hospital with Bridget.  As I got to know her, I discovered that my baby sister was just a regular baby after all. 

I realized that she was absolutely perfect.  She was warm and soft and she smelled sweet.  She even looked a lot like I did when I was a baby.  I ached when I had to leave without her.  I slept with clothes she had worn that we brought home to wash.  I couldn’t wait to have her home with the rest of us.

We had all been so sad when Bridget was born needing surgery.   And then there was the Down syndrome part.  I didn’t know when we would be happy again, or if we would even be celebrating her birth.  But, when she was finally able to leave the hospital--after a month-long stay--our whole family walked around her hospital floor like we were in a parade.  My mom carried Bridget.  We were all smiling and waving and proudly wearing our pink t-shirts.  The nurses were clapping.  It was a great celebration.

I know now that you can’t just hear an explanation of Down syndrome, or go on the computer and research it.  The way to learn about Down Syndrome is to know someone with it. 

Before Bridget was born, I never thought much about people with disabilities.  I didn’t really pay attention.  Now, when I see people with handicaps or disabilities, I pay more attention.  I know they sometimes have to try harder to do the things most of us take for granted.  I see people with disabilities as regular people who are just trying to learn and to enjoy life like everyone else--and I think of the families that love them.

To me, Bridget is the most beautiful baby in the world.  She’s adorable and funny and she likes for me to hold her against my chest.  I know she loves me because she smiles at me.  I feel like we are going to be really close.  I think Bridget was made especially for our family.  She’s like a puzzle piece that fits perfectly and makes us complete.  We didn’t know it, but we were waiting for her all along. 





              Leaving the hospital to come home!

 


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My Sister Bridget:  A Light in Our Lives

 by Big Brother Kyle 10/07

My sister Bridget is a one-year-old baby who can sit, smile, crawl, yell, and do just about anything else most babies do.  She can be cute and sweet, and she can also be stinky. (It’s good for us that she likes to take baths.)  Babies need people to take care of them—to play with them, to watch them, to teach them and to love them.  It’s hard work taking care of a baby—any baby—not just a baby like my sister, who has Down syndrome.

In her own way, Bridget is showing us that Down syndrome isn’t holding her back.  My little sister is different from other babies.  She’s much more perfect.  She can do what other kids can do.  Plus, she is showing us that it’s not the end of the world to have a disability.

When other people look at Bridget, they may see a baby that looks different (kids with Down syndrome look a little different).  I see an extremely sweet little girl, a loveable baby and a great person.  From Bridget, I am learning that you shouldn’t make assumptions about other people.  I feel lucky to have Bridget as a sister.

In the future for Bridget, I see a wonderful life.  If she needs help with anything, she’ll get it.  She doesn’t have to be a scientist when she grows up.  She could be good at music, or at making people laugh and smile, or she could be an author.

I see Bridget giving people a new look at Down syndrome.  I want to do something to help others understand her, so people don’t judge her or try to limit her.  I think Bridget will do that for herself, too.  Maybe she’ll give presentations or write a book and tell people what it is like to have Down syndrome and what makes her different and the same as others.

My family talks about something we all call “Bridget’s Light”. To me, that means that Bridget lights up our days and brings us joy.  She has her own special light that peeks through and is getting bigger and bigger.  It spreads as she shows us all more about herself and about Down syndrome.

I love Bridget for who she is inside.  I hope other people can move past the stereotypes and instead see Bridget’s light. 

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