Myka Stauffer and I Have the Same Story, Just Different Endings

My brother Dominic was born on June 1, 2005. To my parents, he was an accident, an unplanned fourth child. But he was also a blessing. As I held him in my small, 8-year-old arms for the first time, I immediately felt bonded in a way only older siblings do; a love so deep it would be impossible to reach the bottom of my heart.

Looking at him that first day, I could already picture how my life would change with him in it. The Rodriguez children were now a group of four—two girls, two boys; a perfect balance. Dominic would play sports, charm a couple of hearts, perhaps even dent my car when I allowed him to take it out for a ride on a weekend home from college. He never got to do those things. Instead, some higher power gave Dominic Wynne-Tolon Rodriguez a life no one in my family ever saw coming. My brother is autistic.

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