Three Decades Later: Eric’s Story

Thirty years ago today my brother was born. He arrived four months too soon.

My parents describe that day as chaotic and unpredictable. Neither doctors nor medicine could restore normalcy. My mom became very ill. And they had an 18-month-old at home.

My family says Eric could fit in the palm of a hand. That’s how tiny he was. So frail and fragile— yet a fighter, too. Eric suffered a brain bleed and was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy. My parents were told their son would survive, but doctors did not expect he would speak, walk or ride a bike.

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Yet, together we watched a young Eric dunk his first basket and hop on a two-wheeler. He would bowl with his strong arm and do cannonballs like it was nobody’s business. He grew up to be a fearless teenager, gaining respect from his high school classmates. So much respect, that fellow students would show up to Varsity basketball games chanting his name. He was the team’s manager, though based on the poster-size signs in the stands, you would have thought he was the point guard. Eric was later crowned prom king senior year.

Eric has always expected the world. He deserves the world. And on most days, he likes to think he runs the world.

Following high school, he moved to Hollywood and quickly became a friend to the stars. Today, he is involved in a production company with the help of our dad. He is in a loving relationship. And he’s still my very protective big brother (just ask my husband).

His successes did not happen out of luck. They happened because Eric made them happen. He didn’t make excuses. Eric has always expected the world. He deserves the world. And on most days, he likes to think he runs the world.

Of course, our parents are the other superheroes in this story. Our mom dedicated her life to raising a son whose needs didn’t necessarily decrease with age. And our dad never took “no” for an answer— constantly working to pave a path for Eric so full of opportunities and hope.

It is an incredibly humbling experience to be one of Eric’s siblings. He’s got four of us— here to both cheer him on and do our obligatory nagging. It is also important to point out our extended family. The aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins who took on our family’s battles as their own. Plus, we thank the friends, mentors and sitters over the years who have become our family.

Happy three decades strong, Eric. May we all strive to have such tenacity, such fearlessness, such an ability to love and to forgive.

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