Saturday, April 24, 2010

Danny Eats

This is Danny. I've blogged about him before, but in case you don't want to go back and read, he is my younger brother whom I dearly love. Danny has what you might call food issues. Due in large part to neglect in his first three years (before he came to our home), Daniel thinks he must always eat when there is food because there may not be food when he is actually hungry. That's how it started, at least. Now, however, I think he loves food because, well, it's food. A lot of people love the stuff.

When I was in about the tenth grade, there was a game at the high school I wanted to attend. My parents had a much more urgent appointment, so I was babysitting Daniel (he would have been about ten at the time). No big deal; I figured he would like the game too.

Have you ever been to a high school sporting event? The gymnasium was loaded with nachos, fountain drinks, potato chips, Hostess Cupcakes, hot dogs and kids who apparently had no better way to spend their parents' money. Always frugal, I had fed Danny a nice, big meal before we even left the house so he wouldn't need the high priced sporting event food.

He didn't enjoy the game. All he could see was the concession food on everyone's lap.

About half-way through the game, I lost control. I can't recall the order of events leading up to it, but somehow, Danny got away from my side and had begun wandering the bleachers. "You gonna d-d-dink dat?" he asked. Well, no one could say no to a sweet, starving(!) Down's boy, a fact he well knew. "Umm, no! You go ahead."

"Oh, reawy? Th-thank you!" he exclaimed.

Filled with the satisfaction of helping one of God's most beloved children, they, of course, offered their hot dog, too. "Ohh, th-th-thanks, guys!"

Once they were cleaned out, he moved on to the next.

Scooching down the bench, I could hear, "Dat for me?"

"Oh," looking longingly at the freshly salted pretzel, "Yeah, I guess."

"Ohhh, thanks!"

On and on it went. Poor suckers who couldn't refuse someone so dang cute and so dang hungry and Danny who knew how to work the system. Normally I would have stopped such behavior, but that night, for whatever reason, I didn't. In fact, I hid. I kept a keen eye on the kid, but I slumped down behind the person in front of me. And, forgive me, I was giggling. A lot.

Most people who don't live with retarded people--especially Down's--only see the super loving, thankful, trusting, jolly hobbits. Most people don't see the broken valuables, the tantrums, and the other things that go along with staying at a toddler's mentality forever. That night, I decided it was time to share the full fun of living with Danny.

Up and down the rows he gathered armfuls of Doritos, licorice, M&M's and other usually forbidden treats. As each new generous victim folded to "C-c-can I have it?" my amusement increased. I soon found myself about a dozen rows behind Daniel, wicked tears of mirth streaming down my checks. Alas, it couldn't last forever. One of my friends recognized him and started looking for me. I claimed him. He sat next to me for the rest of the game with this goofy I fooled them smile on his face.

Last week was his 27th birthday. Guess what he asked for. Yep. Food.

Specifically, birthday popcorn.

There are a lot of people who love Danny. There are even a lot of people who give him food.

I am so glad he belongs to us--broken whatevers and all.

1 comment:

  1. Food really is the center of Daniel's world! It is a good thing we must eat meals 3 times and (at least) 3 snacks each day! He not only like to eat, but he loves to talk about eating and thinks about food, looks at pictures of food in magazines and, I will bet-- he even dreams about it!
    A nice tribute to your sweet funny brother, and the thing that is most important to him. :)