There is so much I love about my son, Beau. He is a kind soul with a huge, compassionate heart. He cares deeply about his family, especially his sisters. The relationship between Teale and he has always been unique. The two of them are bonded in a way no other relationship in our family has. A big brother looking out for his little sister is sweet, but a big brother looking out for his sister with special needs is amazing. He has always been there for Teale, even in the stages of her pushing him away and treating him horrible, he always understood and let it go. He never took it personally, but had a it is what it is attitude. I think the two men in my life, Beau and Mark, are very similar. They take whatever abuse Teale dishes out, but easily forgive and forget. Beau has never let others say bad things about Teale or any other special needs person without sharing his perspective. He's stood up to teachers, to classmates, to strangers and to friends. Sometimes explaining Teale but sometimes just telling people their views are narrow and ignorant. I remember many talks with Beau when he was younger. They may have been around times I was hurt by a stranger making assumptions about Teale's poor behavior. People don't always understand her severe brain damage, because physically, to an untrained eye, you may not notice her losses. As a younger child, she had far more rages in public than she does now. We were constantly on our guard and knew the public was generally kind and compassionate but often it was the cruel people who spoke up. The kind words from people who took the time to praise my family, those words stick, but are much less often than the hurtful things that have been said to us. I can probably count on one hand the number of strangers who, when Teale was in a bad place in public, offered words of encouragement or care. But the number of times I have been scolded, judged, and cut down, those times are far greater. Beau has seen me cry over a cruel comment, he has lived the pain of an event we tried to do as a family going terribly wrong because Teale raged, It has often been tough to do things together, her unpredictability is too difficult to take a chance with. Beau has lived with Teale as a sibling, knowing life is not always easy. He has never made excuses for her strange behavior, but he has educated many about special needs. We used to talk about what he could say if ever in an uncomfortable position where someone was cruel about Teale. I used to coach him, tell him people don't "get her severe brain damage" but still those are the words I will use if backed against a wall. Beau is in college now, many people know nothing about what he has lived. He isn't one to share Teale's difficult journey easily. As he moves from being part of our home to his own life, many will not know or understand what he has lived. I believe Teale is and always will be a huge part of Beau. I believe he is kinder and more compassionate because of her. I believe he takes a unique perspective about life into the world and because of this he will do well.