Imperfection is a Gift

August 28, 2010
By Leslie Stapley BRONZE, Lawrenceville, Georgia
Leslie Stapley BRONZE, Lawrenceville, Georgia
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Nicky is the only member of my family that does not seem to match up. Though he and Randy were both adopted, Randy is able to contribute to the natural flow of comedy and social-acceptance that my family seems to produce. Nicky, however, is different; aside from being Hispanic in heritage, he has an abnormal case of Attention Deficit Disorder, Sensory Integration Deficit, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, slight Dyslexia, and to top it all off an IQ of an eight year old. In plain English, Nicky is a shy, awkward mass with a strong heart and a weak mind. I, the little sister, could easily identify his weak mind, but never seemed to feel the warmth of his heart.

Nicky always bugged me. Being the perfectionist that I am, his quirky mannerisms frustrated me to the point of petty name calling and yes, even physical violence. I would call him stupid and immature and then slap him a couple of times as hard as I could. Of course, I was a petite little girl, so my slaps were more like aggressive tickles. I would always get in trouble and could never understand why. Nicky was the annoying one, he was one who provoked me, why doesn’t he get in trouble? I mean, come on… I was a perfect little child who kept her grades up, went to ballet every Tuesday, and did not complain about not getting an allowance. Still, when Nicky would stare at me at the dinner table, I would explode in childish rage, spill my milk in the midst of the tantrum, then get swatted by my mother for being such a brat. Nicky would never laugh at my misfortune, however. He would keep his head down and look guilty, like a little dog who just soiled the carpet and knew he was about to get sent outside. He would apologize for making me mad, and would tell me he loved me. Even still, I was not impressed, and took him with a grain of salt.

Nicky’s physical appearance never helped him either. He is short and stumpy with thick glasses and curly hair. He used to have incredibly crooked teeth and a bad case of acne. To be a little more scientific, Nicky has Enchondromatosis, meaning that he had cartilage tumors on the right side of his body, disfiguring his hands and feet until he had them removed. I, once again, was able to identify his imperfections and abandoned him because of them, making up stories about him with which I would entertain my friends. In my defense, Nicky would do some rather ridiculous things, including rolling down the neighborhood hill in a trash can. Despite my constant criticizing of Nicky, I do love him. Sometimes I would not admit it, but I have always and always will love him.

I take on the role of the “protective older sister” when it comes to Nicky; yes, I can make fun of him, but you cannot. Don’t even try. Though Nicky is four years older than me, it feels like he is ten years younger, and I often feel like I’m just babysitting. I have had to, on many occasions, make his dinner when my parents were not home, and when he was in school I would try to help him with homework. Being older now, it is easier for me to understand how hard he has had to work and how far he has come. Overcoming immense intelligence obstacles, Nicky now has a job. He works at Emory, serving as a janitor (though our family refers to him as a sanitation engineer) under the Good Will Work Services. He works all night, sleeps all day. And he does a good job. He does a very good job. I used to think that I was the hardest working member of my family, balancing AP classes with year round swimming and marching band, but I haven’t known ambition like my brother has. Yes, he never had good grades, and he did indeed drop out of a community college. But when Nicky goes to work, he puts forth his best effort, despite his limitations. And I have learned that his imperfections are what make him perfect, perfect for who he is, and that my search for perfection has made me anything but. I deeply regret my past actions towards Nicky, I lost valuable time that could have been spent getting to know him and his pain a little better.

The author's comments:
This is a first draft. I pretty much just sat down for an hour and wrote this down. It's from the heart, but I know it's raw.

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