I watched you from the window. You were playing spies with Elias. Then you switched to cowboys. You showed him how to build a cowboy campsite and a cowboy gun with sticks. I watched how Elias wanted to do everything you did, and I saw how much you loved him copying you.
The other day we were on the couch and you looked at me with a puzzled look, "Elias isn't weird, that wouldn't be nice to call him weird." I agreed with you, and while we were talking I tried not to cry. I love how you notice your brother. You watch him and you also watch other kids who are his age and younger and you compare. Not because you are unhappy with him, but you are trying to understand him. You are only five and you know there is something unique about him. You are discovering for yourself what having a brother with Down syndrome looks like. But you don't need the facts or a title hanging over your brother's head, you are getting to know him.
We sat at the kitchen table together and you drew out clues for what Elias was trying to tell you. He wanted to watch a movie but we didn't know which one. I loved watching you. Instead of being frustrated with him, you made it a game. Elias thought it was great you were drawing everthing he was saying, and he forgot about the movie.
Vitali, you are the perfect brother for Elias. No matter how long it takes for Elias to speak to you in sentences or understand how to play pretend, you will always be brothers and you will know him better than anyone. He loves being with you. He needs you, and you need him.