On the surface we look like any other family. A family that likes to do things like hike, bike ride, and family game nights! Just like all of you, there is so much more under the surface. There is so much I want to tell the world on a daily basis. There are so many things to raise awareness about in this world. My anxiety and fear of being less than, have prevented me from telling our story to the fullest. This is my attempt to step out of my comfort zone and do so.
Andrew's First Idea
Although Amanda usually writes these posts, (given the name under the surface MOM) I thought it would be an interesting idea for me, Reese, to "take a stab" at writing a post. Hello, I am Reese Sullivan. I am Amanda (and Rusty)'s son and I am 14 years old; (yes I read the post dear 14... mom please stop its embarrassing). Currently, I am in eighth grade and have dealt with my brother Andrew's condition for most of my life. It has not been easy, it has been confusing and a mess; but it has helped me learn and grow as a person, and has also helped my parents do so. I used to just think of Andrew as my brother who was still a baby, and I didn't like it. Up until 5th grade or so, Andrew was my baby brother, just he didn't wear diapers and eat baby food. I hated the fact that he was mentally so slow compared to all of my friend's brothers and sisters. It seemed like he was dysfunctional. However, in 5th grade, something happened. It seemed as if Andrew's mind "clicked." Although I never understood why seizures were such a big deal until 7th grade (and I still don't fully understand it), I knew that being seizure free was good, and Andrew was seizure free for many months before this day. It seemed to just be a normal day. I was in the middle of 5th grade (somewhat towards the end) and Andrew was starting to very slowly gain mental capacity. He started to slowly but surely seem less brain-dead. This day was in February. Andrew and I were in the back of the car and he was watching me play geometry dash. I was just trying to mind my own business when Andrew said something that surprised me. Before this, I would always tell him to try and get his own ideas and be his own person, because I didn't understand that he didn't have the mental capacity to be like me like I understand now. He looked at me, and saw me repeatedly dying in geometry dash. That is when he said "Reese, wouldn't it be cool if you couldn't die in geometry dash?" I was shocked. Mom didn't seem very surprised, but that wasn't surprising considering she had a long day and was tired. I was so happy Andrew finally had his own idea for the first time. It was amazing. Sure, it was simple. Sure, it was predictable. Sure, he probably didn't spend too much time thinking up to it. But now, he finally seemed like he wasn't a robot. He seemed, human. After this moment, Andrew went through more character development. He started saying his own thoughts and phrases. He started realizing his favorite things and learned what he thought was funny. This was all when I was in 6th grade. When I was in 7th grade, he started quoting things he found funny, and started learning what his feelings were, as well as using those feelings to better sympathize with others. When I'm in 8th grade, he's been learning how to spell certain words he sees so he can read better, and having MANY more ideas. He's been learning how to function as a human, and how to have his own thoughts and ideas and execute them. He's been asking questions at church. He's been remembering things he believes are important. And he's become more aware of his environment. It seems like i'm talking to an actual person now, and not a helmeted seizure-having dieting robot. Sure, he's still mentally 4 and a half, but its better than being mentally 1 and a half like he was for so many years, when I was in grades Kindergarten through 5th grade. I am so grateful for the progress god has made on him, and I pray that he helps give me the patience to maybe teach Andrew a few things. Although my mom gets upset with his conditions sometimes, I think it's important to step back and look at the progress she has made, my dad has made, I have made, and god has made, and appreciate it. My dad has worked very hard to keep our family together and have enough money for Andrew sickness and being a family, and I look up to him for it. He's been through tough emotions to deal with Andrew's medical needs, and he's struggled through these emotions to continue to be the amazing father he is. I have learned to be nicer through this experience, and more accepting to people of similar conditions, as I realize that they cannot help themselves. I hope you guys reading this enjoyed my blog post. Sorry if it was a bit long, but I hope you see some other parts of me and my family you didn't know about before, and maybe learned something. Thank you all for your time, and thank you mom for letting me type a blog post on here.