What Stevie Taught Me

My brother Stevie is one of my hero’s. We are close in age…just three years apart; however, my life has taken a very different path than Stevie’s. You see, Stevie has Cerebral Palsy (CP) which is caused by abnormal development or damage to the parts of the brain that control movement, balance, and posture. In addition to CP, Stevie is mentally handicapped….he has the cognitive capacity of a two-year old.
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SOHK- Stevie

Stevie Knox, Circa 1980

My brother cannot talk.

My brother cannot make decisions for himself.

My brother wears a diaper.

Looking into his eyes, there is an intensity that I’ve never witnessed in another human.  Stevie is highly aware of others and his surroundings. He has a passion like no other. He seizes the moments and relishes in simple undertakings like savoring a cold glass of chocolate milk or the crackling sound of a plastic Wal-Mart bag as he twirls it obsessively over his head.

When I was a child, I am ashamed to say that I was embarrassed that I had a special needs brother.  I used to dream about him being “normal” and having one of those ornery, yet fun brother-sister relationships that I used to read about in my escape books.

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It took me years…. a lifetime really, to appreciate the gifts I received from Stevie.

SOHK - Lessons from StevieI love you Stevie.

We all have had people in our lives that have made an impact on the person we are today. For a time, I under-appreciated my brother….years later, it is he that has taught me some of life’s greatest lessons.

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Is there someone in your life that you have under-appreciated?  What did it take for you to realize that you were missing an opportunity for joy?

4 Comments

  1. Derek Ball on April 16, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Absolutely beautiful, and yet so true. I can very closely relate to this situation, and I am humbled by your vulnerability and caring heart. This was a fantastic quick read!! Thank you!

  2. Sharon Lively on April 17, 2015 at 7:38 am

    That’s a soul touching article. Thank you for bringing me to the moment to think about how other’s touch my life.

  3. Natasha on January 21, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Wonderful, great source of inspiration and a way to remember how to truly be thankful for what you have in life.

  4. Lanette Giese on November 6, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    How wonderful reading your feelings regarding your brother Stevie. He’s SO blessed to have you!
    I am reminded of the first person I encountered who was challenged in life, more than most of us ever will be.
    My best friend had a down syndrome sister named Monica. Monica came home in a shoebox, she was tiny. The prognosis was 11 years. Homes. Not much outside contact. After all, it was 1958.
    The family stood fast & Monica stayed home as much as possible. She spent time at Hissom in Sand Springs. She was blessed to live the last half of her life in CA in a ranch setting in CA.
    By the end of her life at age 42, Monica showed many many people how to live w/ a smile & enjoy others that are different. She taught me compassion. She taught me it’s okay to lick the spoon & stick it back in the jelly.

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