My very first childhood memory was from when I was 2 years old. I vaguely remember peeking out from around a corner as a 9 year old boy flashed me a huge smile, laughed excitedly, and eagerly started very shakily coming towards me. I quickly hid on the other side of the wall, terrified he would get to me. I walked up the stairs, clinging to my mom and as we entered his bedroom, I saw a huge metal crib. My little mind was racing and I couldn't quite understand exactly what was happening, but it all seemed frightening and "unordinary".
That was the day I met my big brother. My parents had become "skilled care providers" through the state of NJ. Cameron, a 9 year old boy with severe cerebral palsy, was our first placement. That day began a whole new life for my family and it has helped shape my perspectives, opinions, reactions, and my goals.
My initial fears of Cameron, quickly disappeared once he came to live with us. There was not a thing to fear about that incredible boy. He taught me within days that "different" is not a bad thing, and that disabled only means differently abled. We became fast friends and shared an incredible bond. Oh how I miss you big brother.
I can not even begin to tell you the impact of being raised with siblings with special needs. I adored Cameron with everything that I had. Though he never spoke a word, he listened, he watched, he loved. He didn't need to say a word. Despite any "disabilities" that he had, his soul was beautiful. He was almost ALWAYS happy and smiling and just being in the room with him could make a bad day, better.
Cameron lived with our family for over 10 years and the day we said goodbye is still one of the hardest to relive. It has been around 15 years since I last saw him. Last saw his huge smile, last was embraced in his bear hug, and last kissed him goodbye.
I miss him tremendously, and pray that wherever he is, he is still smiling and spreading joy and love.
Happy Birthday Cammie. Thank you for all of the joy you brought to my life. I love you buddy, and I always will.