Being Kendra’s Sister

Kelley - Appleton, Wisconsin
Entered on June 6, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: disability
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Being Kendra’s Sister

I believe that to be different is to be beautiful. Growing up with a twin sister with a disability has lent me this philosophy. For the longest time I resented Kendra’s disability. I resented how long it took her to do simple tasks, and how much attention she got at home and at school. I resented how much help she needed from me. The exact time and date cannot be pin-pointed, but as I grow older and grow stronger in my Catholic faith, I finally realize that Kendra was given to our family for a reason, and that she is a blessing, not a hindrance. Kendra has opened my eyes to a whole new world – a world where the gospel is according to Zac Efron, and where hugs can solve any problem. I finally understand that by helping Kendra, I am not only teaching her, but being a good sister and role model to her.

Kendra’s participation in organizations such as Special Olympics have exposed me to other individuals who have disabilities (or different abilities, as I now call them), and who are some of the most inspirational people I have ever met. These people have had to overcome so many obstacles in their lives, and have had to deal constantly with others telling them what they cannot do. Despite all the opposition directed towards them, they are able to succeed and surpass all expectations. Their outlook on living is so positive. They focus on the simple things that life has to offer, and try to make the best out of every situation. Criticism only makes them work stronger and more diligently. I believe that we all have something to learn about acceptance, sincerity, and optimism from this community of people.

I believe that to be different is to be cool. My sister’s ability to act silly and goofy and not care what anyone thinks about her is one that I admire. She doesn’t care if none of the other kids her age watch “Hannah Montana,” or if they don’t spend their Friday nights at home playing board games with their families like she does. To her, all she needs to do to fit in is to be herself, and if the other kids don’t like her, then it’s their loss.

Being Kendra’s sister and meeting others with different abilities has taught me so much, and has completely changed my outlook on life. I have learned not to take things for granted and to always work to the best of my ability. I have learned that everyone has the potential to change the world. But most importantly, I have learned that being different is something to be celebrated. It is something to take pride in. It is something that makes my sister the wonderful person that she is today. This I believe.