Patty DeGennaro

@patty-degennaro | contributor
Patty is the mother of a 10-year-old boy and 6-year-old girl. Cosmo, her son, struggles with LD, ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder. Despite all his struggles, there is a light that shines through him and has since he way a baby.

My Son With Learning Disabilities Showed Me What Love Looks Like

My son showed me what unconditional love looks like when he was only 3 years old. He showed me how unfaltering love can be. He did this all through one tender moment that I carry with me every day. That year, my sister Mary was sick with cancer. She’d just started her second round of chemo, and we were all sort of falling apart inside. This round had been tough on her system and left her skin raw and covered in a rash. I remember feeling so heartbroken to see my beautiful sister so ravaged by this horrible disease and the medicine that was supposed to make her better. One summer afternoon she was sitting in my sister Annie’s sun-drenched living room beside the giant picture window. We were all lounging around talking and just taking in the lazy summer day. My son, Cosmo, came running in to see Mary, his beautiful blonde curls shining in the sunlight. I remember feeling that pit in my stomach, worried he would see her and be startled or say something that might hurt her feelings. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Cosmo climbed up into Mary’s lap. He cupped her face in his chubby little hands and peered into her eyes, which were the same bright blue as his own. “Boo boos?” he asked her. “Yes, Cosmo, I have boo boos,” she whispered back. He then leaned in, gave her two gentle kisses on each cheek and nestled in her lap. Mary held him close and planted a dozen kisses on his little head. He reached over for a book and asked her to read to him. They could spend hours together lost in storybooks. Mary and Cosmo Tears spilled out from my eyes. I had to leave the room and collect myself. I was so amazed by my spirited, rough-and-tumble little boy, by the love and kindness he displayed with such a little gesture. I could see how much my sister was moved by his little words, his little hands, his sweet little kisses. A few months later on Christmas Eve, surrounded by her family, my sister passed away. We miss her every moment of every day. We keep her spirit alive, we play her favorite Bruce songs, we read her favorite stories, and we tell our children how much she loved them and how that special love is a gift. Seven years have passed since that day. Cosmo is 10 years old. He struggles with a learning disability and sensory disorder. Some days are difficult for him and frustrations build… for all of us. But I hold that moment from seven years ago in my heart. I know his capacity for love and kindness. I’ve seen it with my eyes and felt it with my heart. It isn’t something you can learn in school. It’s a gift he was born with… and he will share it with all of us. For all of December, The Mighty is celebrating the moments we gave or received a gift that touched our lives in a special way. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post describing this moment for you. Include a photo and 1-2 sentence bio to .Hint! Some gifts don’t come in packages. Want to end the stigma around disability? Like us on Facebook . And sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night .