Lisa Leonard Designs

my heart is full.

September 3rd | david, matthias



Matthias and David both attend our neighborhood elementary school.

Matthias is in first grade this year

and David is in third grade {in a 1st-3rd grade classroom for special kiddos}.

David’s class integrates with typical students at lunch, music

and for special activities.

We’ve intentionally tried to avoid integrating David into situations where Matthias’ class will be,

so he doesn’t have to constantly explain to his friends about David’s disability.

I want Matthias to have space to be himself.


Today at recess,

Matthias saw David playing on the small playground

and he ran over to him,

calling, “David, DAVID!!

I’ve been looking for you!

I’m so glad I found you!!

and when some other girls came over to see David

Matthias explained,

That’s my brother.

Every body has instructions to help it grow,

but David’s intructions got messed up

so that’s why he looks different“.

Such a simple, matter-of-fact way to explain David’s disability.

He didn’t shy away or ignore his brother.

He was proud and happy and loving.


My heart is so full, i think it might burst.

167 Responses

  1. Karen says:

    That is so beautiful. May God bless Matthias’s beautiful heart!

  2. Cait says:

    That’s adorable! A friend’s daughter recently told me that her little sister, born with Down’s Syndrome, came from Ikea and the instructions were probably only printed in German… πŸ˜€

  3. Susan says:

    That is soooooo wonderful!! Thanks for sharing such a happy moment!

  4. Tina says:


  5. Margie Brown says:

    That is so touching…makes my eyes well up and lump in my throat! You have a wonderful family!

  6. Sheila says:

    Both your boys are special! Each in their own way, just the way God intended!

  7. Janice says:

    Your boys fill my heart, too. Clearly, Mathias and David have so much love and respect for each other. Keep up the good work, Lisa!

  8. Melissa says:

    That’s the most beautiful thing I’ve read in a long, long time. You have two extraordinary boys, for sure.

  9. That is wonderfully beautiful! We should all treat others with the eyes and heart of a child!

  10. Sonya mckelvey says:

    Hello Lisa,

    What an affirmation! I remember that you always had a knack for communicating about David in a way that informed but invited others to feel at ease. Mathias has the same gift. They are wonderful boys.

    Sonya McKelvey xooxo

  11. Mique says:

    Lisa my heart is full for you! That is awesome. I think one of the greatest blessings about having a special needs kiddo is the compassion my other two have. I’ve overheard my daughter say with confidence, “That’s my brother J. He has autism. He just learns a little differently from everyone else. But that’s ok.” I love overhearing things like that. Not afraid, just matter of fact and proud of her brother. I love that Down’s Syndrome comment above- that’s too cute too!
    Thanks for sharing with us. xoxo, Mique

  12. FunkySteph says:

    Lisa, you are fabulous and you have fabulous children!

  13. becca says:

    oh my goodness. what a beautiful, brotherly bond they share. my heart would be so full too!

  14. Christa says:

    That is so so sweet. I got all teary reading. They will be best buds forever!

  15. sarah says:

    Thank you for sharing that with us! Seriously made me cry a bit. I guess I was startled by how loving and sincere young children can be. You are doing everything right, Lisa! Love, love, love reading about your family. Especially today.

  16. Kelly says:

    Isn’t it amazing how God pairs us up with just the right people. :) love this. :)

  17. tara says:

    that seriously might be the sweetest thing i’ve ever heard! i hope and pray that my 2 kids will grow up to love each other like that!

  18. Renae says:


    this really did make my day, and brought tears to my eyes. The love in your family is amazing. That is a beautiful picture you posted and it shows what family is all about.

  19. Kristin says:

    That is so beautiful…I’m tearing up here!

  20. kaley smith says:

    wow. all i can say is wow, what a beautiful story. his explanation is perfection.

  21. Nancy Lefko says:

    Thanks for making MY heart full with that wonderful story. With three boys of my own, I know how brothers will always stick up for each other, no matter if they have their fights from time to time. God bless David & Matthias :)

  22. Alana says:

    That is beautiful. What a wonderful boy you have there! I got teary eyed reading this!

  23. Beth R.S. says:

    What lovely boys you have! Clearly you’re doing something right :)

  24. Jessica says:

    that’s so sweet & beautiful.

  25. Juanita says:

    That was the sweetest thing I ever heard. His explanation was perfect. And the love in this story is astounding! Thank you for sharing.

  26. MelissaF says:

    Wow, how beautiful! And commenter Cait’s story about Ikea made me laugh out loud. Kids are so precious. I love the way they see things!

  27. Kimberly C. says:

    Very, very sweet. Sniff. . . .

  28. C. Beth says:

    Made me cry. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful sibling moment!

  29. Dianne says:

    Oh, how precious! Teary-eyed here, too. What a lovely blessing!

  30. So precious! What a sweet brother!!

  31. Joni Lane says:

    i think my heart may just burst from that as well. thank you for sharing life’s beauty.

  32. Lindsay says:

    Wow. I have goosebumps. That is SO precious.

  33. Michelle says:

    That just goes to prove what an amazing Mom you are. You are raising men in this age of guys. Kudos to you.

  34. Lindsay says:

    Oh gosh, I just realized it looks like I was saying that sarcastically, but I WAS NOT! I really do have goosebumps! Γ…nd it really is precious! I need to use exclamation points instead of periods! :)

  35. tammy says:

    precious! you and your husband are wonderful parents raising two special kids! bravo! god is smiling!

  36. Megan says:

    Wow– I am bawling on a conference call at work— thank goodness for mute! That is amazing and totally a reflection of YOU! This reminded me why I look at this blog everyday.

  37. Oh, Lisa-this made MY heart full-and shedding a few tears of pure, innocent, child-like joy, the same from which Matthias spoke so beautifully of his brother. THANK YOU for posting this-EVERYONE will smile who is touched by this :) Lots of love, Jess :)

  38. Denise C. says:

    Awwww, so sweet! Hugs to you & your boys! πŸ˜‰

  39. Gina says:

    An affirmation that you and your hubby are on the right track as parents. And what a blessing these brothers have each other (:

  40. Mim says:

    This is simply beautiful! You have been blessed.

  41. liz r. says:

    Oh, that is lovely. You have two sweet boys.

  42. Laura says:

    That is so sweet! What a loving family you’ve raised those boys in!

  43. tiffany day says:

    hi lisa

    such a sweet example of what love does! you definately deserve to feel proud!

    have a great weekend


  44. debra parker says:

    i love that. we are experiencing similar moments between our two boys. one of those being r who we just brought home from Haiti. i understand the full heart.

  45. Julie says:

    Well that brought an instant lump in my throat and eyes to fill with tears.
    Your kids are sweet as pie.

  46. Nicole says:

    Priceless! You have two special boys there!!

  47. dawn says:

    I could cry. Matthias is forever tenderized and strong through being David’s brother. Such Goodness.

    Two precious boys. Beautiful.

  48. This just makes my heart happy! Give both your little guys extra love from us!

  49. Sandra says:

    Love it! My sister has Downs Syndrome so I know the joys and challenges of Matthias’s special sibling role. The joys far out weigh the challenges! It’s not always easy, but it helped shape me into who I am. And now it’s my turn to help my boys realize how special their aunt is!

  50. Linda Jacobs says:

    And I think I might cry! I’m sitting in my classroom, the kids are getting ready to leave, and I’ve got tears in my eyes.

  51. Shannon says:

    That brought tears to my eyes! And now I’m crying at work. :) You have two amazing little guys!

  52. Kathryn says:

    Dang, feeling emotional today. That brought a tear to my eye. Gotta love family.

  53. Vicki Spencer says:

    Oh my gosh….this made me cry. What a sweet story, a sweet picture and sweet little boys!

  54. amy says:

    A beautiful sweet story … two very lucky bros!

  55. Brought tears to my eyes.

    Love love love you and your boys.

  56. Nikole says:

    Brings tears to my eyes! Such a precious story! Aren’t kids amazing?! These brothers are so lucky to have each other as you are so lucky to have such a beautiful family!!!

  57. that. is. PRECIOUS! love the love. that is so cute.

    p.s. i really, really hope that is going to be your christmas card picture.


  58. Jenna says:

    that just brought tears to my eyes. what loving boys you have, and how proud you must be. way to go mama. πŸ˜‰

  59. LuLu says:

    My heart feels like it’s going to burst for your joy! Your boys are beautiful, a brothers bond is so special.

  60. Heather says:

    That is just fabulous, simply fabulous.

  61. Ang says:

    Beautiful! A Brother’s Love! Is he really protective of his brother as well? He will be a wonderful man one day because he loved from the inside not what is on the outside.

  62. Claudine says:

    Oh tears! What a lovely post….and beautiful brothers!

  63. Karen P. says:

    What a special little brother David has!! And what special parents, too. It’s because of the two of you that he has such love for his “big” brother!!

  64. Tia says:

    So wonderful! The love of two brothers is a great bond, and little brothers are always going to look up to big brothers. Thanks for sharing such a celebration of family.

  65. Paige says:

    WOW! Matthias is so cool! The relationships we have with our siblings is so precious…well, you already know that!

  66. Brittany says:

    What precious children you have!

  67. Susan says:

    Children see things so much clearer than we do! You and your husband are clearly inspiring parents. Thank you for the lovely post.

  68. Caroline says:

    Chills, that was beautiful. How wonderful. Submit this on kids give me hope!

  69. Kristy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful moment! Kids are so much better at the matter of fact part of loving. I love learning how to do it, from them. :)

  70. CHANI says:

    That brought tears to my eyes.

  71. What a lovely story. You and your family are such an inspiration πŸ˜‰
    I’m glad I found your blog. xoxo

  72. Kathy K. says:

    Life doesn’t get any more beautiful than that shared moment! Makes my heart happy.

  73. julie says:

    How beautiful… you are blessed in many ways!

  74. Alicia says:

    A tender loving heart! My oldest has autism and his brothers are his best friends and never shy away from those moments. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful picture of brotherly love.

  75. elizabeyta says:

    You made me cry! You must be so proud!



  76. heather says:

    Literally sitting here crying! If my heart is overflowing with love for your gorgeous boys and their amazing relationship, I can only imagine how you feel Momma! Thank you for sharing with us!!!!

  77. Elicia says:

    I think I might cry! What a wonderful brother…such a pure heart.

  78. and you just totally made me cry… wow!

  79. denise says:

    BURST, BURST, BURST!!!! what a wonderful story lisa. you are so good to be sensitive to mathias’ needs. lit is terrific how delighted in david he is (just as you are in your siblings). what a mature answer too.

    my girl’s have been blessed to have children with special needs in their various home school classes. one little girl is in a wheel chair ( she is a twin. she had a stroke at birth). i love watching as the students come together to help her with her needs, AND that they also play with her, delight and celebrate her friendship just as they do the others. she is a gift to those students.

  80. desiree says:

    that is so sweet. how special they are to have each other. :)

  81. Serah Garrett says:

    I have tears in my eyes, if only we could all see our “brothers and sisters” that way. What a beautiful example to us all!!

  82. Lindsay Lee says:

    This is the sweetest thing I have ever heard Lisa. Thank you for sharing this :)

  83. That’s a testament to what a great job you are doing as parents. You have two wonderful boys!

  84. Linda says:

    That is beautiful … from the heart!

  85. Stacey says:

    That proves that you raised your boys right! Thanks for sharing!!

  86. Daniela B. says:

    That made my cry :-) so sweet

  87. blogofjoan says:

    precious – what wonderful boys you have.

  88. AzAndee says:

    I know I have told you before but what a beautiful family! My eyes filled with tears for these brothers’ love of each other! My 23 year old is differently abled and his younger brother and sister love him unconditionally as well. What a gift they are to each other…yours and mine!

  89. jasmine says:

    Oh! Matty is beyond sweet. I think he just made my day too :)

  90. Marissa says:

    Being a former special education teacher….I just LOVE Love Love these stories. πŸ˜› If only all special kids in the world could have such a loving, accepting and proud family the world would be a MUCH better place.

  91. Diana says:

    That is just truly beautiful.

  92. Andrea T. :) says:

    Oh, that melts me … so sweet!
    My son has had the blessing of several special needs kiddos integrated in his class (he’s also 1st grade) and I explained the ‘reason’ for why they’ve developed the way they have in a similar way. I compared it to computers and missing certain connections. I like Matthias’ explanation. Just perfect.

    Happy Weekend!

  93. Marlene says:

    Wow, what a wonderful story.
    I am so glad I got to read it.
    Thanks for sharing, it really brought tears to my eyes.
    This is something I will remember.

    Have a lovely weekend.

  94. oh my, you made me cry. What a sweet little boy Matthias is. And you can tell by that comment how much he loves his older brother, David. I’m sure David was so excited to see him.

  95. Cat G. says:

    So beautiful! What wonderful boys they are.

  96. Kelli says:


  97. Dana says:

    Love it!! Perfect!

  98. Judi says:

    Beautiful! That made my heart smile, and I am sure it made God’s smile too!!

  99. Oh my heart…that is just precious, Lisa. {{hugs}}

  100. Renae says:

    Tears…what a special family you have! Congratulations on raising such good boys!

  101. Denissa says:

    Precious… :)

  102. Jodi says:

    WOW! Just WOW. You have such a sweet and wonderful little boy.

  103. This attitude is a direct reflection of the caring and compassion you and your husband have taught. Good for you.

  104. Dawn McCarron says:

    You have such a beautiful and amazing family…inside and out

  105. Dana says:

    What a moving story! I am sitting here in tears. Thank you for sharing.

  106. angie says:

    This story made my heart melt! Way to go Matthias!

  107. Lisa says:

    Oh that just make my heart melt too… how wonderful!

  108. Oh, that gives me happy chills. So precious!

  109. kathy eller says:

    Oh my gosh! Im crying. I love them both!! WOW

  110. Caitlin says:

    Oh wow. So beautiful, made me cry. What precious boys.

  111. Courtney says:

    This is why I became a Special Education teacher!!!! Each day my life is filled with joy because of how I see my students interacting with other general education students. My own children have such a deep understanding of just how special each person is because from the time they were babies they have been exposed to this type of environment. I have pictures of each of my baby boys being held by students with downs, autism, in wheelchairs, and so many other disabilities. Now, in preschool, they will come home heartbroken because other children do not treat everyone the same, and they are the only ones who will play with the little boy with downs, or help the little girl with only one arm get her lunch tray. I am so proud of my own kids for having this understanding of others and it makes me so happy to hear of other parents, such as you, embedding such a deep love and understanding for others who may not be the same! I am so glad there are kids like Matthias, Jack, and Brady that are sharing with and helping others to understand all that there is to know about disabilities at such young ages!!!

  112. Grenda says:

    What a lovely story. You truly have two amazing boys!

  113. ~michelle~ says:

    Oh, what a dear, special story. As a teacher, I can totally relate and think your boys are both so wonderful! Love the family photo you put with this post!!

  114. Jenny says:

    That absolutely made my day! Have a blessed weekend!

  115. leslie says:

    that’s beautiful, lisa. thanks for sharing. what precious boys you have!

  116. rhea says:

    i totally get how your heart is so full. my kids are the same way with anna. they love her just the way she is. absolutely beautiful. too bad that adults couldn’t be the same way!!! thanks for sharing that story. you are one blessed mama…so am i!!! blessings from one special mom to another!

  117. Destiny D says:

    I’ve got a big lump in my throat caused by your precious and pure hearted boy…

  118. Marcy says:

    So sweet!

  119. Becky K says:

    Wow! Thanks for sharing that amazing moment…brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart for you!

  120. Marina D-K says:

    What a beautiful moment. What great character…definitely brought tears to my eyes =D

  121. That is so beautiful. Makes my day. Thanks so much for sharing parts of your life with us : )

  122. Nicole says:

    would LOVE a necklace that says that “my heart is full”

  123. Miaja says:

    I heart this!

  124. Jacqueline Jones-Blacker says:

    Different instructions, but brothers just the same…. well put Matthias!

  125. Tina says:

    That is so wonderful!! Made me smile SO big!

  126. wanda says:

    Oh be still my heart…..

    I love him! And so does God!

    Brotherly love is precious!

    Good job, mom & dad!

  127. Stephie says:

    Wow, my heart is bursting right along with yours!

  128. Jan says:

    What wonderful boys you have!!! Don’t you love how children are so very real in
    their explanation of things. Just wish more adults were capable of the same things.
    Enjoy your precious duo….they grow up so very fast.

  129. Ev says:

    Beautiful family.

  130. sarita says:

    means ya’ll are doing something right with your family and their hearts.

  131. Kelly H-Y says:

    That just warms my heart … what a sweet and wise-beyond-his-years big brother!

  132. Laura says:

    There’s a valid reason for Mattis being there for David. I so have been there with your feelings :-)

  133. Jen says:

    What amazing young men you are raising!

  134. Allison says:

    That is SO beautiful. We just suffered a 14-wk miscarriage last week and I’ve been wondering what went “wrong” for our little boy Calum. Obviously, the instructions got messed up. But as I grieve and think about the what ifs, I’ve wondered what it would be like for my older children to explain if they have a sibling with a disability and hoping that I would handle it with the kind of love and grace that you have. This was a lovely story that touched my heart. You have a beautiful family.

  135. Merideth says:

    simply and beautifully stated.

  136. Lauriel says:

    Beautiful. I couldn’t put it better myself.

  137. Lisa says:

    Kids are so amazing and smarter than we give them credit for. Out of the mouths of babes.

  138. Julie says:

    I teared up when I read your post. So beautiful….

  139. Cristi says:

    Oh man that was such a beautiful picture. What a blessing. Your heart is full and my eyes are full – of tears. :)

  140. Angie Ulseth says:

    Wow. You have every right to be proud of both your boys. They are lucky to have each other! As a teacher, I know that young kids tend to accept each other “as is”, and your story sure proves that. Your sons are amazing!

  141. Alison Gibbs says:

    That is just beautiful.
    Shows what a great job you guys are doing at being parents.

  142. Southern Gal says:

    That is so beautiful. Yes, your heart must be full. You are wonderful parents.

  143. kirstie says:

    I pray the Lord gives me such an open, child-like, loving heart! So beautiful!

  144. Kristin says:

    This was the sweetest thing I’d read in a long time!

  145. Michele says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I’m a little teary-eyed now. I love the bond that they have. So special!

  146. anne says:

    Kids are so awesome!

  147. Dawn says:

    that’s is sooooo touching and edearing. My 11 month old son, has some problems & I could only hope my older daughter will be proud of him, instead of embarressed. IT could go either way & it would break my heart if it goes wrong. You have GREAT BOYS!!!!


  148. Sarah says:

    My eyes are full after reading your post…in a good way. Thank you for sharing!

  149. Awesome! I work in school system with special needs kids and I always love it when siblings are supportive and loving. May God continue to bless your family!

  150. Tracie Smith says:

    How beautiful! My eyes are overflowing with tears!!

  151. teresa says:

    Oh Lisa!
    How do Mothers do it?
    How do Mothers let go…and leave their children behind for the world to hold?
    Mothers have to be so brave.
    I know your HEART just BEAMED…and sighed…and SMILED when you heard this story.
    How perfectly sweet and tender.
    I am clinching my HEART for you.
    And sending you ooodles of LOVE!
    Your boys are beautiful!
    Just like you.

  152. Barb says:

    Out of the mouths of babes… What a simple and beautiful explanation.

  153. Ramona Gordy says:

    That is so cool. It’s okay to be your brothers keeper. It seems that you have raised two lovely boys, who obviously love one another and will take care of one another. What more could you ask for?

  154. Linda Mills says:

    That….made me cry.

  155. Amy Furrer says:

    I love this post! I work in a 1st – 3rd grade classroom much like David’s. I love Matty’s explanation and I might use it! So sweet Lisa. Thanks for sharing.

  156. Tamie says:

    So SWEET! And wonderful for a mom’s heart. My 6-year-old has autism and his 5-year-old sister sometimes struggles to explain it to others (and herself!). Sounds like Matty has it all figured out…good for him! :)

  157. Michelle S. says:

    I think the love between siblings outweighs all others! I have a twin sister, so am probably biased… I think she’s the best thing around!

  158. Virginia says:

    My my eyes tear up. Thank you. And, now no one will ask or whisper – they all know what is what and now they will all play and have fun. thank you!

  159. allison says:

    I just teared up! What an amazing bond they must have.

  160. Suzanne says:

    pure love……awesome!

  161. Amy says:

    That is so beautiful! What an amazing little boy and great brother.

  162. Amy Lynne says:

    I love how brothers protect each other. I see it in your boys and my own boys. It makes my heart sing to see such love!!

  163. Karen says:

    That’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard!. What an amazing child!!

  164. Karen says:

    That’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard!. What an amazing child!! Both children seem amazing!

  165. Regina says:

    i’ve read this a couple times now . . . i keep coming back to it. it just warms my heart so.

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