20-Year-Old Toddler Will Never Get to Grow Up (VIDEO)

Mom Moment 19

20-Year-Old Toddler Brooke GreenbergMany moms dream about freezing time to keep their kids young forever. But for the parents of Brooke Greenberg, the woman dubbed a 20-year-old toddler, the dream is more of a nightmare. Their little girl is technically an adult, but you wouldn't know it to look at her.

She's just 16 pounds. She's not even 2 feet tall. And her story is giving moms everywhere a new perspective on watching their kids grow up.

Introduced on Katie Couric's talk show this week, Brooke's parents explained that her body stopped aging 15 years ago. She's plagued by a rare disease that even doctors can't put their finger on:

On the one hand, it sounds like exactly what we want: to keep our kids little so they won't go off and leave us, so we can enjoy them forever. The other day I was sucked into that kind of thinking as I poured through old photos of my daughter. Her chubby cheeks are gone along with her pudgy fingers, and those pictures were like a punch in the gut. It was a visceral reminder that she's growing up, that she's going to leave me one day.

But all it took was one look at Brooke to make me snap out of that self pity. My daughter is growing up because that's what is SUPPOSED to happen, that's the way life is supposed to be.

We all like to think of our kids as "ours," but the fact is, they're not. If anything, we are theirs, and we have the gift of being able to raise them to adulthood. We are LUCKY.

Put yourself in the Greenberg's shoes. Does this make you feel lucky that your kids are growing up?

 

Image via Katie

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Mamab... MamabearC

I can only imagine how hard this must be for her parents/siblings;seeing their loved one miss out on all life's opportunities and milestones and the sharing of those moments with her. I am VERY thankful that I have been able to (and hopefully will be able to continue for a long time)experience so many moments,good and bad, that have helped/are helping shape my child into the person they will be as an adult...I can't wait to see and share their future and all it entails and I'm very sorry for any parent who doesn't get to have those experiences.I'm also very glad that Brooke is surrounded by such a loving and nurturing family.

Beth3721 Beth3721

Introduced on Katie Couric? I watched a documentary on this girl years ago.

pupuk... pupukeawahine

My first thought is that these parents will always be caregivers until they are too old to do it anymore, or have passed on.  Essentially we're all caregivers when our kids are little, but we know it's for a good cause--we're helping them to grow up, and that is the reward.  As they become teenagers we find a little more time to do the things we enjoyed before being parents--certain hobbies and sports we'd forgotten about, and as much as we love our kids, we also look forward to the day when we'll be having some fun and free time again, and then, hopefully, grandparents.  My heart goes out to these poor parents.  They have nothing to look forward to.

nonmember avatar Brandi

Brooke is a gift from God and a special girl, her parents are wonderful loving people and one can only wish every one could be in such a loving family.

Littl... LittleFrogsMA

Until she's 22, the school district will provide year round 'schooling' for her.  Unfortunately, when she turns 22, that will end and the parents will once again be responsible for 24 hour care.  How exhausting.

Andre... AndreaM1907

How can you say these parents have nothing to look forward to?  Is their parenting experience different?  Of course it is.  As you watch the video you can see they get excited as Brooke makes small changes like noticing them and her surroundings.  They also have three other children who will help them enjoy various life experiences.  Havng a special needs child is not the end of the world and clearly they have adapted to the role and found joy in their child.  It seems to me like they have plenty to look forward to.

nonmember avatar Aisling

Please, for the love of God, try writing a story without half of it being about your personal life. I was actually interested in the story until it turned into yet another article about your own kids and feelings.

nonmember avatar Anna

@Aisling:



It's a BLOG, not a news station.

nonmember avatar sandy

I just wanted to put it out there for those of you whose children have a disability, that I do not view this life we've been given as a blessing. I personally am in hell every day and so is my child that is suffering with the symptoms of autism. If it weren't a struggle we wouldn't need intervention services and if there were a pill that could make all the symptoms of autism disappear, you better believe I'd give it my kid, quick, fast, and in a hurry. I love my son more than myself, like any mother, and I've dedicated my life to him, like any mother and I will be here for him as long as I am alive, but one day when I'm not, I sure wish he had the same chance as living on his own as my typical child. I've talked to other parents who are in my same situation who do not view a child's autism diagnosis as a blessing. I wouldn't wish this life on my worst enemy so there is no way I want my son "blessed" with it. Is my child a blessing? Of course, I can't imagine life without him. Is autism, a blessing? Do I even have to answer that? Anyway, I just wanted those of you who need to hear someone else say it....I do not consider this a blessing. Love and best wishes to whom these few words help you know you are not alone with your feelings.

nonmember avatar Victoria Meyers

I met a little girl last week at my local Malvern Wal-Mart who looked to be about 10 years old. She appeared to me to have special needs, I thought she might have Autism or some other developmental disability. I was a little shocked when her mom told me the girl was 22 years old. Maybe Brooke is not the ONLY one, maybe just the youngest onset. Either way - these parents must be terrified of what will happen to Brooke if something happens to them. I know I feel that way about my son, and he is developing- slowly; but he is having real milestones.

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