The Special Olympics begins this weekend. After hearing about it on Good Morning America it really prompted me to take a glance back to my childhood. I had the privilege to be raised in a home where there was someone who had Down Syndrome- my uncle. Yes, my heroic mother, was the primary care-taker of my uncle during my childhood and even now, my aunt takes care of Steve.
Steve's nickname was PAL. One great thing about him was that he was a loyal pal. He loved things deeply...Coca-cola, Kentucky Fried Chicken, bowling and Batman. He loved people deeply too. I remember the way he hugged and gave slobery kisses. He loved to joke...I remember him calling my boyfriend at the time by the previous boyfriend's name...Hilarious now...not so much then! He shuffled his feet down the hallway and left toothpaste in the bathroom sink. He watered down the 2 liter coke bottle so that no one would know how much coke he drank!
But the greatest lesson I learned from growing up with someone special like Steve, was that every person is valuable. No matter what their physical, mental, economic make-up, they have something to offer thier world and their God. Steve was like a child, he got excited about Christmas and Jesus and the Easter Bunny. His child-like faith was just what he needed to accept Jesus as his Savior.
As I listened to the bit on TV this morning about the Special Olympics I was reminded how uniquly wonderful and rich my childhood was because of Steve. His unconditional love, his humor, his shuffle and even the water in the coke...make me smile as I realize really how special he is.