I have an aunt named Holly, Holly happens to have Down syndrome. Holly has always been a big part of our lives. She is my mother's younger sister and when I was little she lived with my grandmother and grandfather in Indiana and then they made the move to Florida. My grandfather was an amazing man and planned for the days when he and my grandmother wouldn't be around to take care of Holly anymore. He put a lot of money aside to make sure that Holly's every need would be taken care of. Now that my grandparents are gone my mother has to make sure that all of Holly's needs are taken care of. I don't think that people realize that when you have a child with special needs the siblings of that child will eventually need to take up the reigns and take on the role of parent in that relationship.
Of course Holly is a part of our family and we all love her very much. Holly is around for most major holidays (Thanksgiving, 4th of July, Christmas time,etc.), weekend visits, goes on family vacations with us throughout the years, and for frequent visits- typically long weekends. Holly was a bridesmaid in my wedding, it was important for me to have her be a part of it.
Holly shaped me at a young age and I believe I am in the field of special education as a result of my relationship with her.
I have enjoyed watching Luke and Lauren with her as they have grown up. It is great to see how much they enjoy being around Holly, and how Holly makes them laugh and brings out the inner child in her:
Tim has really bonded with Holly over the years as well, in fact I think he is her new favorite. She always bypasses us to get a hug from "her Tim" first, it is funny to watch them giggle together.
Holly has taught all of us patience, acceptance and unconditional love. I am happy to have Holly as an aunt and an important part of our family unit.