Brotherhood

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When Beau began filming “Little Accidents” a few weeks ago, we knew we were about to experience something extraordinary.  After all, we had an extraordinary director and a cast and crew that embraced the idea of inclusion and acceptance on every level possible.  What we didn’t know was that some of the most extraordinary moments would take place far away from the lights, cameras and excitement of movie making – they would take place when two boys – who had never experienced the joys of brotherhood – formed a friendship.

It was a few days before we were scheduled to begin filming that Beau and Jacob first connected via Skype.  Jacob, a talented actor from Arkansas with a heart of gold, had been cast as Beau’s older brother in the film.  The boys hit it off from the first moment they met and what has developed since is one of the most meaningful and true friendships Beau has ever experienced.

Growing up in a house full of sisters, Beau has never known the blessing of brotherhood…until now.  And if I could have custom ordered the perfect brother for him, I would have designed him to be just like Jacob.  His sense of humor is always good medicine for Beau’s soul.  His intelligence challenges Beau to think about things differently.  His patience and understanding encourages Beau to try harder and be more.  And perhaps most importantly, his compassion and loyalty makes him one of the finest people I have ever known.  He is good for Beau and makes him happy.  And that’s all any parent could ever wish for in a friend for their child.

Yesterday we celebrated Jacob’s birthday and Beau insisted that we start the day by singing “Happy Birthday” to him.  After all, that’s how we celebrate birthdays in our family . . . and Jacob is family.

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Action!

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Rolling  . . . Speed . . . Action . . .

From across a field of tall grass, I watch as Beau holds tightly to Jacob’s hand and the two boys run downhill.  It’s clearly a struggle for Beau as he navigates the hilly terrain and he relies on Jacob’s sure footedness to get him from point A to point B.  Beau slips and Jacob is quick to help him back up.  I can faintly hear the boys exchange dialogue and I marvel at how Beau seems so in the moment.  It’s Beau’s first day on the set filming the movie, “Little Accidents” and I find myself feeling overwhelmed with emotion. 

From the moment Beau came into this world, we knew he was extra special . . and not just because of his extra 21st chromosome.  For Beau, having Down syndrome is sort of like having a “super power”.  A power that was given to him by God and intended to show the world that people living with intellectual disabilities are capable of accomplishing whatever they set their minds to.  

Beau uses this “super power” on a daily basis and when he does, it transforms even the most skeptical mind.  Whether he’s running the 50m dash at the Special Olympics, singing a solo on the community theatre stage or even ordering his own food at a restaurant, Beau is constantly proving that he is capable and determined to achieve.

Today, I stood in amazement watching my son – a boy that was born blind and wore leg braces for years– run across a field on a movie set with purpose and grit.   As the cameras rolled, I felt the world poised to watch a little boy exercise his “super powers” once again and change people’s perceptions.