I have 6 brothers, 5 real and one adopted. My big bro Danny (the second oldest boy) is special (there's no better way to put it!) When he was born my mom said he was like any other baby and was a happy boy. He also had a patent vitelline duct, which means his little belly button was herniated. This was in the mid 1960's and his doc told my mom it was no big deal when she voiced her concerns over the phone. When Danny's pediatrician finally saw him he was shocked over the size of the hernia and they scheduled surgery immediately. He was 6 weeks old. When my mom and dad brought Danny home they said he was a different baby. According to my mom, he was lethargic and would just lay there.. if she would lay him on his tummy he would lay face down and not move. Heart breaking. Her gut instinct told her it was from too much anesthesia.
|Could they be any cuter? My 5 brothers, Danny is in the upper right.|
|My brother Danny and I, 1978|
|Danny and I in 1995|
As Danny grew up he was delayed, but the docs never really knew the reason behind his delays. They just told my parents he was slow. He is now a 47 year old stud, who has lived in the same apartment for 25 years. I told him he's the best tenant that has ever lived! He's also a devout catholic and in the Knights of Columbus. He loves to say he "has to pray hard to get this family to heaven". He's awesome and he's our angel. He also proudly tells everyone that he is "Rainman" because he literally can tell you any sort of sports history you ask him about... who won the Superbowl in 1977? He would tell you not only who played, who won, but also the scores. Oh and yes I chose 1977 because that is one of the years the Raiders won. If you ever meet Danny ask him about the Raiders. He is the most loyal fan I've ever known! Just don't ever say "Raiders suck", as my brothers can tell you, Danny has a punch called the "hollow back" and it can knock your butt down in 2.2 seconds.
|My brother's fake band pic... love this one.|
Where am I going with all of this? Well when Ellie was born we relied on my brother Matt, my mom and in-laws and text messages to get the news out to our friends and family. The task of telling Danny about Ellie weighed heavy on my heart. Danny is a worrier, big time. I had heard him talk about people with Down syndrome, one of his friends has a daughter with DS who is now 9. She battled leukemia. Every time he mentioned her he says she's the "girl with Down Syndrome and leukemia". I just knew he was going to worry about Ellie. I worried about him only thinking of her having Down syndrome and not thinking of her as his niece. She makes him an uncle for the 7th time by the way, which is his favorite number. :)
I kept mustering up the courage to tell him and every time I would call it would be a busy signal (he's a big chatter on the phone!) So finally one day he called me while I was laying on the couch snuggling Ellie. She had just turned 2 months old. I said "hey brother I have to tell you something about Ellie that I haven't told you yet" and he said "What, T?" and I told him. He said "Awww!!" but not in a sad way. Imagine it being said with excitement. "She does?!?" he proclaimed. I was so nervous. He then said "She's a gift from God Tiff! She's going to be awesome!" Yep and then the tears started. "Darn it Danny!" I said... "there I go crying again!"
So there you have it. Uncle Danny is fine with Ellie's diagnosis. Shame on me for worrying about it, I could have used his love and support in the beginning but I was too scared to tell him.
|First time Uncle Danny met Ellie.|
|Oh they will kill me for putting this picture up! 3 of the 5 were actually in the Army.|
|Almost the whole crew, missing brother Joey from Texas.|
Daniel My Brother - Elton John