Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Harrison!

It's so hard to believe my little brother, Harrison- the baby of the family, turned 18 over the weekend! 18 years ago, we had no idea of the journey we were about to embark on with this special addition to our family.

At just a few months of age Harrison was diagnosed with Williams syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental disorder, caused by a certain deletion of genetic material. He was set back even further, developmentally, due to a long period of frequent infantile spasms (baby seizures), causing brain damage.

Growing up with a disabled brother was an experience like no other. It was truly eye-opening, challenging, but above all character-building, to have a special person like Harrison in our lives. Characteristically, Williams syndrome individuals have sweet, friendly personalities, which couldn't be more true in his case. Harrison is the happiest guy we know, and his unconditional love for his sisters, obsessions with pipe cleaners and pugs, and appreciation of a good knock-knock joke (among many other crazy quirks), far outweigh the fact that he'll never meet most "normal" developmental milestones. What does normal really mean anyway?

Well, for Harrison, it was approaching the microphone at his high school graduation two weeks ago, and delighting the crowd with a few of those famous knock-knock jokes. In that crowd, of course, a very proud and tearful family.

To learn more about Williams syndrome, please visit the
Williams Syndrome Association's website.


Tanya said...

Happy Birthday Harrison!!
I will find some funyons (sp? i don't even know how to spell it right) and peanut butter tomorrow...maybe even eat them together!

Michell Page Morgan said...

TEARS in my eyes.. Of Joy, of understanding, of how happy I know it must have been for your mom ..Kelsy was up on the BVHS Chorus stage the other day and .. well thye are just priceless, wordless moments!! You and Kandice share that in having siblings of special needs. You 2 are truly inspirations to others, great mothers because of it and always have my admiration!
Much Happiness to You Heather! M

Mimi said...

Heather thank you for the great tribute!
xo, Mom

Mique (as in Mickey) said...

Happy Birthday to Harrison! And it was so wonderful to read that- I often wonder if my two "typical" kids will resent their brother (who has autism) and pray that they will be like you when they grow up. I hope they appreciate all kinds of people and are compassionate in general.
He's lucky to have you as a big sis!

Tegan and Tage said...

Harrison is 18?! How can that be? Wow. He has grown so much. Happy Birthday Harrison!!!

Trish said...

That was so sweet! I've got tears. I'm really hoping Addie has that kind of attitude growing up with Alaina!
and let me just say that the photo of the 3 sisters sitting on the bed holding Harrison... the one on the far left, looks just like Camden!!! Is that you? Crazy!!!!

Happy Birthday Harrison!

Aurora said...

Tears in my eyes...that was such a sweet tribute to your brother. And I agree, the girl to the far left looks JUST like Camden (and the one in the center looks an awful lot like your Mom!)

Happy Birthday Harrison!

teddya2 said...

well, well, a day late but happy birthday!!!!!!!!.....Hey Heather- my first reply here....I've checked before but now I am signed up.........hooray for family......

Lindsey said...

Happy, happy birthday Harrison!!

Bethany said...

What a sweet post!! I hope your brother had an amazing birthday!!

~ Lisa @ AbidingThere~ said...

heather - thank you so much for this sweet tidbit about your brother. It's neat getting to know you little by little through your blog. Happy birthday, Harrison!

Do the 4 of you all have "H" names? Which kiddo are you in that picture?

xo, Lisa

Mimi said...

ilolve 6t97o6tou/adce
"Knock knock-whos there? Heather- Heather who? Heathers here!"

Mimi said...

Heather 9 (right)
Holly 7 (middle)
Hannah 3 (left)

Briana parra said...

I remember when you guys brought Harrison home!! I can't believe he is 18! That is amazing!! He looks great, you all must be so proud of him.