Growing up with an older sister who has Down syndrome has had its ups and downs. Every family with a child who has Down syndrome knows this. My 21-year-old sister has changed my life in ways I have never imagined. I volunteer every year at The Buddy Walk® here in San Antonio, and every year it reminds me more and more of why I would love working with children with special needs. My sister, Veronica, sees the good in everyone. And you better believe if she doesn’t like someone, there will be a VERY good reason why. Veronica has gotten her driver’s license, got a job at a daycare, graduated high school, and has dreams of one day being a chef. She LOVES One Direction, and sitting around the TV. while we watch movies and eat chicken wings. Veronica loves giving hugs (she squeezes way too tight, so beware!). She has taught me to appreciate the little things in life. She has taught me to never give up on something I want, and to never let an obstacle stop me. I can’t pinpoint a specific story that I would like to share with everyone because we’ve had so many great memories. From lying on my bed talking about boys with abs, and how cute Zac Efron is, to crying together late at night after our parents told us they were getting divorced. Veronica has always been there for me, and I know that she’ll continue to be there for me. People sometimes ask me, “Don’t you wish you had a ‘normal’ sister?” And I always tell them, “I would NEVER wish to have any other sister than the one I have now.” I don’t know what other peoples definition of “normal” is, but I don’t think anyone in this world is “normal.” Everyone has something that makes them unique, and that makes them stand out. I think special needs children make this world a better place. Every year at the Buddy Walk®, I get so many hugs and kisses on the cheek from kids that don’t even know me. How great would life be if we could all go up to a stranger and give them the biggest bear hug ever?! All children are miracles, but I think God added that extra chromosome for a reason. Maybe we all need to experience the extra love they give, the extra hugs, the extra witty comments, the extra tantrums, and the extra smiles and giggles. It was no mistake that I have a sister with special needs, and I’m loving life more and more everyday because of Veronica.