Every year on the 4th of July, my uncle has this party that he believes to be the greatest celebration on Earth. Like every devoted patriot, he spends hundreds of dollars on fireworks to shoot off at the end of the night, which becomes quite the spectacle. The fireworks are nice and all, but for the majority of the night, my family will typically hang out in the backyard, talking and eating (you have no idea how many bags of potato chips we can finish in one night). And that's where my story begins...
When I first got to the small gathering that my uncle calls a party, other members of my family and some neighbors were sitting in a big circle in the backyard, talking, having a good time, and occasionally going up to eat one of the many appetizers that sat on the tables by the house. It was really too humid and gross for all the younger kids to run around for a long time while the sun was still out, so many of them were hanging out by the adults and talking, including my sister, Ela.
A typical little fight in my family is always over what music we listen to at get-togethers. My uncle and my dad always compete to choose the best music for the occasion, and soon into the night, this competition began. Sometimes, if we are lucky, us children will get to pick a song of our choice, and because Ela happened to be standing near the speaker, she was given the opportunity to name her favorite song.
Ela, being the sassy queen that she is, picked "California Girls" by Katy Perry, a classic that everyone knew as soon as it was turned on. Because the song was so upbeat and happy, all of the parents started encouraging all the kids to go in the middle of the circle and have a dance party. Ela, of course, was the first to join in. A couple of the other kids, however, were not into it. A bunch of them were kind of embarrassed to dance, deciding to watch instead, but Ela was the star of the show. She ran around to everyone, making sure they were watching as she showed off her dancing skills. At some point, some of my cousins started dancing with her, but she wasn't going to give up the spotlight. She was having the time of her life.
While I was watching her, I realized that she was having way more fun than the kids who chose not to dance because she didn't feel embarrassed. If everyone would have gotten over their fear of embarrassment, they could have had a great time, but none of them were willing to try it. It's sort of sad how when people grow up, they start overthinking things, worrying about judgement from everyone around them. I wish everyone would take on the same mentality as Ela did that day, because the party would have been so much more fun.
I think one thing Ela understands that many people don't is that it's okay to be yourself when others are watching. She is always ready to show off her newest tricks and moves because she is proud of them, but not everyone is as brave as she is. I admire this quality, and I think I'm going to try and be more like her in that way. If everyone could just stop worrying about looking silly or goofy, the world would be a happier place. I think we could all learn a little lesson from Ela, and that's the fact that sometimes we just need to let go and dance.
Hi! My name is Serra Tuzun and I am currently a junior in high school. My sister, Ela, who is 3 years younger than me, has Down Syndrome, and I thought it would be a great idea to share my experiences with her to the world. This blog is just a way for me to let other siblings to children with down syndrome know that they are not alone!