By Joe Luzadder, Guest Blogger and Sibling
To me, growing up with a little sister with Down syndrome was a blessing. It was also typical, however, because I did not know what it was like to grow up with a sister that did not have Down syndrome! I am the oldest brother of three kids, and growing up I teased my younger siblings relentlessly, just like any other older brother would. My sister Anna did not (and still does not) like sharing her belongings with me, just like any other little sister. She also thinks most of my jokes are terrible, just like any other little sister. My sister would come to cheer me and my brother on at our sporting events growing up, even if she did not want to come, just like any other little sister. Over the years we have fought about silly things and laughed about silly things, just like any siblings would.
However, having a sister with Down syndrome was also a blessing. I was exposed to the disability world in a way that I would not have been if I did not have a sister with a disability. I met many great people, including Anna’s wonderful teachers and aides, and have been exposed to the great work that they do. I also was able to have unique experiences. My brother and I got to coach Anna at her practices and watch her compete in track events at the Special Olympics. The bottom line is . . . growing up with a sister with Down syndrome was great.
I love my sister and will always have her back.
Joe grew up in Chicago with his brother Jack and sister Anna. He is a 2018 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and is a 2022 J.D. Candidate at the University of Illinois College of Law. Joe and Jack have lots of nicknames for their younger sister, Anna. Boot is just one of them. She loves them as much as they love her.