“Not Me” – When My Son With Down Syndrome Feels Left Behind

The Myers Brothers

My son Joshua has two “brothers by another mother” who he loves dearly. This picture was taken at the celebration / vow renewal of his youngest brother (left), Today, the middle brother, (right) got married .

Josh recorded a short message for his brother that included “Good job bro,” and “I love you.”  As soon as I stopped the recording, he declared: “End of message!” (Phew! I was worried there for a minute. He can go on and on when he’s on a roll.) Then, he watched the video to make sure it was worthy of sharing. “Yeah, that’s good” he said with a smile of approval.  As I fumbled with my phone trying to figure out how to get the video somewhere where the groom could see it, he added “I had a tear in my eye.”

While we waited for an update on the nuptials, Josh started sharing his thoughts.

“How weird is that?! My brother is getting married. Just like my other brother.”

“Yes,” I said as my stomach started to turn. Mother’s intuition knew where he was going.

“Not me” he whispered.

“Or me,” I said, trying to redirect his mind from what was bound to be a painful thought process.

“Ha!” he said laughing. He thought some more and then added: “You need a new boyfriend, Mom.”

I was quick to reply, “Oh no!”

“Wait!” He wasn’t having it. “You didn’t let me finish.”

“Okay, what were you going to say?”

“You need a cowboy boyfriend, like Trace Adkins.”

Yeah, he knows me well.

“But he has a girlfriend so that’s not good,” he said.

“No, that’s not gonna work.” I’m glad he realizes that. All I could think of then was Sean on Born This Way and how he struggled with that concept in season one. He interrupted my thought with:

“Or a millionaire boyfriend so you can be rich and famous.”

Ha!  You gotta love him!

“I don’t think that’s gonna happen either” I said then added the song title that has become our inside joke – “Love stinks.”

We sat in silence for a few minutes more, each deep in our own thoughts. Finally, I told him that he could go back to what he was doing and I’d let him know when I heard anything.

He jumped up and went about his day. I’m not sure whether he’s still dwelling on the fact that both of his younger brothers are now married and he’s not, or any of the other ways in which their lives are different from his. I’ll check back in with him later and see if he needs to talk more.

In the meantime, I’m left wondering how to handle the subject better the next time. I’m sure it will come up again at some point. Unfortunately, I managed to convince him at an early age that he will be married on his next birthday.  You see, he started talking about having a wife when he was six or seven.  My response was always “You can’t get married until you’re 30.”

It worked at the time, but now it’s caught up with me.

It’s not that I think Josh can’t, or won’t get married some day. It’s just every now and then he realizes that his life is different and he wonders why.

I don’t have the answers.

But,  if he can dream big for me, I guess I should do the same for him.

6 thoughts on ““Not Me” – When My Son With Down Syndrome Feels Left Behind”

  1. Oh yea, been there, done that. The first thing I thought of was, “Now that he’ll be 30, he can maybe think about dating.” I always thought Beth would be single her whole life, but now she’s dating and they’re talking about getting married. And, an interesting turn of events, Beth has two younger sisters and for the first time ever, she’s the only one with a boyfriend! 🙂

  2. For years Marcus has talked about his wife-to-be: Marilyn Monroe. He’s going to marry her “In Heaven.” Then he started to talk about his son, “Marcus Jr.” Who will also be in heaven (and has Ds, by the way). It seemed that he was accepting that marriage and children aren’t “for this world” for him. And yet, now he has recently started talking about not having a girlfriend…yet.
    Hmm, “yet?”
    We’ve got some more learning and growing to do I see. Who knows?

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