Wednesday, February 8, 2012

To my sister Lena...

I was born three years after my sister.
She was a sweet quiet child that never hurt a fly on the wall.
I don't remember my parents ever telling us she was different.
We knew we had to help her with basics skills like reading and writing and arithmatic.
So it was self understood.
It must have been incredibly challenging in those days to raise a child that is developmentally challenged.
Thank G-d my parents had the guidance of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
They were advised to educate her in the same schools as everyone else.
Due to her happy nature she made friends easily.
She felt love and acceptance there and most importantly learnt how to conduct a beautiful Yiddishe life.
As a teenager she attended a variety of different schools in Williamsburg and Flatbush.
I don't remember her challenges as part of my everyday life.
What does play in my mind is how I felt watching  friends of mine react to her.
When I saw  people choose to ignore her simple friendly chatter I felt sad.
Not for her.
For those people.
She never took notice of it.
She has no malice so she sees no malice.
Lucky for her she had (and still has) a wonderful group of friends in Crown Heights that treated with the sensitivity she deserved.
My parents did the best they could.
She got married and moved to New Jersey where she currently lives.
When I got married I moved to Miami.
I was a young busy mother of 7 k"h and to quote my mother "before i turned around" 30 years had passed.
I wish we could have lived in the same city.
I believe Hashem runs the world and puts us where we are meant to be.
Otherwise I would never forgive myself for not being there enough.
Maybe I could have taught her different skills that would have made her life easier.
Maybe I would have helped her learn how to set up a healthy life where she could have preserved her health better.
Maybe I could have learned from her too.
She is upbeat.
She is positive.
She is resilient.
And with all her challenges, she never complains.
In spite of our shortcomings, she loves every one of her sisters and brothers unconditionally.
All she wants in return is love and attention.
That doesn't sound so different from you and me, does it?

Our siblings push buttons that cast us in roles we felt sure we had let go of long ago - the baby, the peacekeeper, the caretaker, the avoider.... It doesn't seem to matter how much time has elapsed or how far we've traveled. ~Jane Mersky Leder


Faye said...

So so special!

Mom said...

Whenever I have seen Lena—no matter how much time has passed since we last met—she always greets me warmly with a big smile and only good things to say. Thanks, Faygie, for sharing such a beautiful post.

Briana Johnson said...

What a beautifully written post. I've noticed how happy many developmentally challenged people always are, always ready to make a friend and share a smile, they really are special people who can teach us so many things. I knew a girl in high school and she had the best personality and luckily so many kids accepted her and appreciated her and she even won homecoming queen and it was such an honor for her - she was glowing!

Your page is wonderful! I my favorite detail is the way you criss crossed ribbon border.

Mija ♥ said...

What a lovely "letter" to your sweet sister! I understand - I have a disabled daughter (Matilda) ! Visit her blog if you want :

You asked me about how long it takes for me to create a layout...It depends on my mood;) This one was fun and easy - about 3 hours, i think! Thank you for visiting my blog leaving sweet comments! I really appreciate it <3

Fashion-isha said...

This is really so sweet! Your sister looks beautiful! Btw Sara Shulevitz still lives in Miami!!
Have a great Shabbos!

princessf said...

That is so sweet! your such a kind sister.i love the layout!

Stacy Cohen said...

What a wonderful post and a special page. It warmed my heart . . . and I'm sure you always warm your sister's heart even though you live far away from each other.

alexandra s.m. said...

and I love the collages you have made as well!