The Truck

The Truck

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Create Your Best Future

The Truck

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.

~Lao Tzu

Being ten years older than my brother Sammy, I played a huge role in his care and have always shared an unbreakable bond with him. When he was an infant, I would marvel at him while he slept, in awe of how little and perfect he was. I admired this little being with all my heart and daydreamed about what he would be like when he was my age. When Sammy was diagnosed with autism around three years old, my world crumbled. I remember feeling angry, confused and afraid for him. For days after his diagnosis, I could not look at my little brother without a flood of tears. My greatest concern was how he would be accepted by others. I wanted people to see Sammy just as I did, not labeled by autism.

One day, shortly after his fourth birthday, Sammy walked over to me with a new toy truck in both hands and said, “Break it!” He handed me the small toy truck.

My grandfather walked up to us and with a screwdriver in hand said, “Give it to me, he wants us to break it for him.” I looked at them both with confusion. My grandfather then said, “He’s been having me break all of his toys. I think that’s how he understands them. How they’re built, what they’re made of.” I handed him the truck and watched as my grandfather unscrewed the pieces. When he got to the parts with wheels and gears, Sammy’s eyes lit up with wonder. His gaze was focused on the pieces coming off the truck one by one. He took each piece in his hands as it came off and examined it thoroughly. It was clear to me now that my brother saw things so differently than I did. He knew that the pieces worked together harmoniously, but also that each part was unique. He saw that each part had its own special purpose.

It occurred to me that just like the truck, all of the “pieces” that fit together to make Sammy were pieces placed together perfectly for him. Each piece together created my brother, who sees the world in a different light than anyone I have ever known. His actions at four years old helped me to understand that we are all fit together in a different way for our own specific purpose. I now see the beauty in these differences.

Now, whether he is telling me about math and numbers, presidents, or demonstrating his exceptional memory, the many special qualities my brother has inspire me. Since his diagnosis I no longer cry when I look at my little brother — I smile. I don’t see a scary thing called autism. What I see is my brilliant brother Sammy who lights up my darkest days and teaches me new things every day.

~Olivia Mitchell

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