Years ago, my mother brought home an adorable baby boy, and I instantly became a big sister. I was very excited, since I'd finally have a little brother to show off and play with. A few years later, a little sister arrived; now I'd have someone to play dolls with and share secrets with. Then came another brother and sister. Now I'd become a built-in babysitter--someone for them to torment, or so I thought. It didn't turn out that way.

My two brothers hold a special place in my heart. One survived open-heart surgery at the tender age of four at a time when that kind of surgery was just beginning. Although the surgery went well, a lack of oxygen to his brain during that time made him slower than other children his age.

He would not eat any food unless I was there with him to make a game of it--we particularly loved playing "airplane," in which my spoonful of food would land in his mouth.

I'd spend hours by his side reading and playing games. He had learning disabilities, but reading became our favorite pastime since he could not go outside to run and play. Just playing a game of "go-fish" would make him smile.

My other brother was such a sweet baby that nobody noticed anything wrong with him until it was too late. His soft spot was closing faster than it should and his brain could not grow. He would never be able to hold a 9-5 job, nor reach a mental age of more than 9 or 10 years old.

You may ask me how my two brothers--one a very slow learner and the other with the mind of a child--can make me feel blessed by God. It's really quite simple:

My brothers have special gifts no one would suspect...
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Since our parents passed away, both my brothers have lived with my husband and me. They both hold jobs. The one who had open-heart surgery holds a full-time job, and the other works weekends and collects Social Security. Between their contributions to the household and my husband's job, I am blessed to be able to stay home and devote my time to the care of others.

My brothers have special qualities that no one would suspect. Whenever I need to remember something from the store, I just tell my "handicapped" brother what I need. He never forgets. My other brother loves to build model cars and do woodworking, which is a very special gift from God. His attention to detail always amazes me, and he displays such patience while he is working on his projects.

People tend to stare at those who are different from them--I myself have been guilty of this. Before my brothers came into my life so many years ago, I would stare at those who were in wheelchairs or had another physical disability. Now I realize these people are very blessed by God. Rather than stare, I give them a smile and a hug to let them know that they are very special in this world.

Whenever I am feeling low, I remind myself of how God blesses each of us in different ways and in different forms. Mine came when I became a big sister. Count your blessings today--I have and still do!

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