When I say I have a retarded sister, some people would laugh because they thought I was playfully teasing my sister. Others would disapprove as they thought I was being mean. Usually, I have to clarify "No, really, she's mentally retarded. I'm not making it up" and everyone feels silly.
Today is Tara's 31st birthday. It's hard to believe that she is older then me (or the same age as my boyfriend, weird).
Tara came up in a recently conversation about God. It sounds random.
When I was younger, much younger, like 7 or 8, I had an interest in religion. I started attending this Friday night arts and crafts activity at a local church. Though I went mostly for the crafts (b/c that's what Jesus would do!), I learned different songs and prayers. It was a really weird thing for an 8 year old to do! Eventually, as adolescence started to take over, I started questioning God more and more. If he really existed? If he was really all-knowing and powerful? Or was that just the Wizard of Oz? By the time I was in my full-on oppositional, bratty teenage stage (which didn't last long, right Mom?), I decided that God didn't exist. One of the reasons I believed that was because of Tara. Because if there was a God, then he wouldn't have given Tara all of her challenges.
As I matured and that bratty adolescent faded, my perspective on God and Tara began to change. I am not fully committing to the idea of God, but now, I look at Tara and think the exact opposite. If ever I were to believe in God, it is because Tara exists. Because only something greater than us could put Tara on this earth to teach us lessons otherwise overlooked. She is the picture of innocence and happiness. The challenges she has presented only added to the strength, sense of humor, and uniqueness of my family and who we are.
I am grateful for who Tara is and her presence in my life. I would not be who I am today if it wasn't for Tara. The things I like most about myself can be traced to her....my patience, my compassion, my witty sense of humor, and my undying love to my sisters and parents.
Happy Birthday Big Bird.