Unit1：Love Without Limitations
My brother, Jimmy, did not get enough oxygen during a difficult delivery, leaving him with brain damage, and two years later I was born. Since then, my life revolved around my brother's. Accompanying my growing up was always "go out and play and take your brother with you". I couldn't go anywhere without him, so I urged the neighborhood kids to come to my house for some out-of-control kid-centered fun.
My mother taught Jimmy practical things like how to brush his teeth or put on a belt. My father, a saint, simply held the house together with his patience and understanding. I was in charge outside where I administered justice by tracking down the parents of the kids who picked on my brother, and telling on them. My father and Jimmy were inseparable. They ate breakfast together and on weekdays drove off to the navy shipping center every morning where they both worked—Jimmy unloaded color-coded boxes. At night after dinner, they would talk and play games late into the evening. They even whistled the same tunes.
So when my father died of a heart attack in 1991, Jimmy was a wreck, beneath his careful disguise. He was simply in disbelief. Usually very agreeable, he now quit speaking altogether and no amount of words could penetrate the vacant expression he wore on his face. I hired someone to live with him and drive him to work, but no matter how much I tried to make things stay the same, even Jimmy grasped that the world he'd known was gone. One day I asked, "You miss Dad, don't you?" His lips quivered and then he asked, "What do you think, Margaret? He was my best friend." Our tears began to flow.
My mother died of lung cancer six months later and I alone was left to look after Jimmy.
He didn't adjust to going to work without my father right away, so he came and lived with me in New York City for a while. He went wherever I went and seemed to adjust pretty well. Still, Jimmy longed to live in my parents' house and work at his old job and I pledged to help him return. Eventually, I was able to work it out. He has lived there for 11 years now with many different caretakers and blossomed on his own. He has become essential to the neighborhood. When you have any mail to be picked up or your dog needs walking, he is your man.
My mother was right, of course: It was possible to have a home with room for both his limitations and my ambitions. In fact, caring for someone who loves as deeply and appreciates my efforts as much as Jimmy does has enriched my life more than anything else ever could have.
This hit home a few days after the September 11th disaster on Jimmy's 57th birthday. I had a party for him in my home in New York, but none of our family could join us because travel was difficult and they were still reckoning with the sheer terror the disaster had brought. I called on my faithful friends to help make it a merry and festive occasion, ignoring the fact that most of them were emotionally drained and exhausted. Instead of the customary "No gifts, please", I shouted, "Gifts! Please!"
My friends—people Jimmy had come to know over the years—brought the ideal presents: country music CDs, a sweatshirt, one leather belt with "J-I-M-M-Y" on it, a knitted wool hat and a cowboy costume. The evening led up to the gifts and then the chocolate cake from his favorite bakery, and of course the ceremony wasn't complete without the singing.
A thousand times Jimmy asked, "Is it time for the cake yet?" After dinner and the gifts Jimmy could no longer be restrained. He anxiously waited for the candles to be lit and then blew them out with one long breath as we all sang "Happy Birthday". Jimmy wasn't satisfied with our effort, though. He jumped up on the chair and
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