Chloe Peters, Forest Hills
I was always considered the princess of the family. Surrounded by two big brothers, habitually I was spoiled and always obtained what I wanted. Photographs of me splashed the walls of our house. The world revolved around my needs. I only realized I received the most attention from my parents when it was suddenly stolen from me in November of 2009. My family transitioned from a family of five to a family of six. The newest addition was yet another boy, so the princess label remained with me, but the label did not bring the attentive spotlight it always held.
My newest brother, Cale, was considered “different” to most people. At my age, I was unaware that most babies did not spend the first month of their life in the hospital. Lake me, Cale was given a label. However, his label was something I had never heard before: Down syndrome. I feared the word “different.” It was always attached to a negative connotation, but I quickly learned that I did not have to treat Cale any differently. Over time, the picture frames on the walls contained pictures of my little brother instead of me. I respected the change because in exchange I changed myself for the better. I learned to love others no matter if they are “different” or not.
Sometimes, even a princess needs to experience change. Change pushed me to experience and learn new things. Cale taught me to respect everyone. I learned life is not all about me. Cale opened my eyes to see that you get more out of life if you encourage and love others for who they are. Little did I know the affectionate eight-year old I know now would have the greatest impact on my life. I am thankful for losing my spotlight, for I learned far more watching the light sine upon my little brother.