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[FEATURED POST] Happy Birthday to My Sister Jessica: The Epitome of Unconditional Love, and Living With an Open Heart.


with an open heart

with an open heart

with an open heart

One of the most important people in my life is my older sister Jessica. Jessica was born with Down Syndrome and today is her 28th birthday. It’s hard to believe she is that old; she’s not even five feet tall, and still looks like a kid. She still acts like a kid actually, which is one of the wonderful things about Jessica. She is easily pleased, almost always happy, and see’s life through an endlessly positive lens.

I want to write about Jessica today not only because it is her birthday, but also because she is the epitome of someone who lives life with an open heart. Jessica, like most individuals with Down Syndrome, is able to show unconditional love and acceptance. This is something most people (I believe) struggle to accomplish. But Jessica does this without effort; it’s who she is, it’s how she lives, it’s her way of life. She is a gentle soul, with a huge heart, open to anyone and everyone. When she meets new people, she greets them with a hug (despite our continuous attempts at trying to get her to shake hands). My whole life, every time I cried, she was the first to bring me a tissue and give me a hug. Anyone who has met Jessica can attest to her kindness, and sweet demeanor, and did I mention, how hilarious she is (I’ll save that for a different post, on a different day).  Don’t get me wrong, she’s still human; she can still have a temper, and does not like being bossed around. I’ve had friends ask me, “How do you fight with her when she’s so sweet?” Easy. She’s still my sister, she still gets on my nerves, I still get on her nerves, and so, we fight, -like sisters are supposed to! Granted, it’s not very often. But no matter what, she is always able to come around, often more quickly than I can, and can show me love again. She doesn’t know what it means to hold a grudge. She doesn’t understand resentment. She only knows in a particular moment how she feels. So, if we fight for instance, and she’s mad at me, when the moment passes, she’s back to her usual fun-loving self. And getting her out of bad mood is often incredibly easy. All you have to say is, “Jessica, happiness…” and she’ll look up from pouting in her hands, and smile, and be done with it. There is no more past to rehash later on. What’s important to Jessica is the present moment. It’s rather beautiful the ease at which she literally forgives and forgets.

Along with being able to show unconditional love and acceptance, Jessica is able to live authentically, without her ego getting in the way. Jessica doesn’t have to struggle with trying to impress, to please others, or live up to societies expectations. Peer pressure is not something she has experienced. The stresses of life are not something she has to feel. Instead, life is simple, exciting, an adventure, and full of happiness. I’m pretty sure some of Jessica’s happiest moments each day include watching Matt Damon and Justin Bieber on YouTube, getting the mail, going to work, and eating. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to live such a simple life, and be completely satisfied? Can you image if every time you got the mail it was an adventure? To never feel a need for more, -to be content with the present moments in life? Jessica’s instinct to live like this, really is remarkable.

This morning, I was sitting next to Jessica, and I said, “Are you excited for your birthday?!” She smiled and said, “Umm…yeah, yeah! And Linda (her boss at work) told me that my wish would come true”. I said, “She did? Well, Jessica, do you remember what you wished for?” She got quiet, a bit bashful, lowered her head (when she has something really important to say, she gets very shy, speaks in almost a whisper, and looks at the floor) and said in a soft voice,

“I wished for a beautiful day”

(Ah! How simple! How beautiful! How sweet! How innocent!) I smiled, hugged her, and replied, “Well, Miss Jessica, I’m pretty sure your wish is going to come true”.…

By the time I publish this post, we will be in Trinidad, which I’ve heard is nothing short of beautiful.

This post is dedicated to my sister. May we all be so lucky to one day see life in such a simple and beautiful way, to love unconditionally, and be most satisfied with life’s unadorned pleasures. Happy Birthday Jessica. You are amazing in so many ways. I love you.

~Your Sweeter

with an open heart

with an open heart.

with an open heart

with an open heart

with an open heart

 

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19 Comments Post a comment
  1. What a Beautiful Post – thanks for sharing:) I have an Aunt with Down’s Syndrome and she is 50 years old now.

    March 28, 2012
    • Thanks for sharing! It’s always nice to hear from people that have personal experiences with specials needs family members. I’m sure your aunt is such as great as Jessica: )

      March 28, 2012
  2. I wish there was a “love” button. I really loved this post. It made me smile the whole time and I really admire your sister for every reason you just mentioned. Beautiful. Thank you and happy birthday to Jessica! 🙂

    March 29, 2012
    • Thank you do much for your comments! I must say, the positive feedback on this post has been much more than I ever would have imagined: ) It’s nice others found it to be as wonderful as I find Jessica to be!

      March 29, 2012
  3. Happy Birthday Jessica! Sending big hugs her way. Enjoy Trinidad!

    March 29, 2012
  4. Many Many happy returns of the day to Jessica !!!!

    March 29, 2012
  5. What a beautiful post! Your love for your sister is so inspiring! If only we could all love so profoundly!

    April 11, 2012
    • Thank you Sandra! She really is amazing, and inspiring in so many ways. It is so nice to hear from others who can see why: )

      April 11, 2012
  6. Anonymous #

    Thank you. More please. Thoroughly enjoyed your words of insight and tenderness. Give Jessica a hug for me!!!

    July 22, 2012
  7. Tanzz #

    Wow!!Your post and sister’s pic made me smile!!:):) May you both be blessed unconditionally!!And also I envy your sister’s simplicity and warmness!!Loads of regards and warm wishes on your way:D

    December 7, 2012
  8. Wow! That’s great and it’s great that you don’t feel embarrassed as many do when around family with special needs. Having taught emotionally disabled middle schoolers for years, I understand that, sometimes, they have a vision that normal people just don’t have.
    Scott

    December 9, 2012
  9. What a fantastic post. “She doesn’t know what it means to hold a grudge. She doesn’t understand resentment.”–What most of us wouldn’t give to be able to say the same! So many of us (myself included) are working to simplify, be present, need less. And your sister seems to have all of that figured out–she’s inspirational. Thanks for sharing.

    December 12, 2012
    • Thank you for the comments! She does have rather unique perspective. I think in so many ways, she’s lucky. Very blessed to have the ability to live simply and feel joy from every aspect of her life.

      December 13, 2012
  10. I enjoyed your shared relationship with your sister. I too have an extraordinary son who’s special (Smiling) . He teaches me daily how to love share give and here lately how to receive. GOD is wonderful in choosing families to experience such. HAPPY BIRTHday to your light as well as others and enjoy your trip. Continual Peace and Bessings to you and your family.

    Jewel~

    September 10, 2013
  11. I enjoyed your shared relationship with your sister. I too have an extraordinary son who’s special (Smiling) . He teaches me daily how to love share give and here lately how to receive. GOD is wonderful in choosing families to experience such. HAPPY BIRTHday to your light as well as others and enjoy your trip. Continual Peace and Bessings to you and your family.

    Jewel~

    September 10, 2013

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