Everyone has a reason for why they are who they are. Mine came in the form of a person. This is my 14 year old cousin, Isaac. Although he and his fraternal twin, Noah, look just like you and me, they are not. When the boys were one and a half years old, they were diagnosed with autism. Noah is an amazing singer and musician, and can tell you anything you want to know about the Hawkeyes. Isaac on the other hand, hardly says anything at all. Isaac is, for the most part, nonverbal. If he speaks at all, you will hear him say something about Culver’s, or wanting to swim at the YMCA. Isaac has taught me more than I have ever taught him. Without knowing, he has made me into a more understanding, thoughtful, and action based person.
Imagine you’re at the supermarket, getting the groceries for the week. You’ve had a stressful day full of noise and just want to get the milk and go home. All of the sudden you hear the unhappy squeal of a child and turn around to see that the 3 year old tantrum is coming from a 14 year old. Many people’s first thought is irritation. Why didn’t this mom teach her child to behave? If he acts this way in public, why does she still take him places? Why is he throwing a fit over not getting Cheerios? What they don’t understand is that a change in routine for Isaac is devastating, even if it’s something as simple as getting the wrong cereal. Isaac comes to my mind every time I find myself getting annoyed in these types of situations. I always get angry at comments or looks that people give Isaac when he gets upset in public. That made me become more understanding toward others. Just like it’s not fair for people to judge Isaac, it’s not fair for me to judge others based on one encounter.
In the fall of 2014, Isaac, Noah, and their little brother, Henry, were staying with our grandparents for a week. Since there is not much for the boys to do in Osky, they decided that a trip to visit us and eat Happy Joe’s was a good idea. After closing all the doors in our house and opening and closing the garage doors a few times, we asked Isaac if he would like to help us take care of our chickens. When he mumbled, “es” (his way of saying yes), we headed downstairs. He watched intently as we geared up and slipped our feet into our chore boots. A few weeks later, my aunt sent us a link to her blog that was entitled, “Isaac’s Blue Boots”. When they took a trip to buy new snow boots, Isaac had picked out a pair of women’s blue gum boots. I laughed so hard that I was almost crying at the images of Isaac modeling his boots in HyVee, at the library, while putting away the dishes and while playing the Wii in his basement. I realized then, that Isaac got them to be like me and my sisters. Even something as small as wearing the same boots as us made the biggest difference to him. It made me think about how it’s the smallest things in life that make the biggest difference. I began to do small things to make someone else’s day better. After a while it began to become part of who I am, and it’s because a 13 year old boy bought a pair of women’s blue boots.