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Stand by Me: Real Life for the siblings of a child with Autism, and one mom's hope.

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We just closed out an extremely difficult month in our house. A month of medication adjustments, erratic moods, screaming tantrums, and what feels like endless tears. Amidst the swirling chaos, I cannot help but think of and worry about the ancillary affect on his sisters. They are beyond over exposed, and there’s little we can do to prevent it. We’ve sat them down countless times and tried to mildly explain their brother’s affliction, but how much is sinking in? Do they understand or even believe us? How many times can they be hit, insulted, ignored or brushed aside before it causes irreparable damage?

I’ve tried to reconcile those feelings of angst and guilt through words in a letter that I hope and pray my son will someday be able to articulate to his beautifully kind, patient and loving sisters:

Dear Girls,

I want to start by saying I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. For everything. I didn’t mean to yell all those times. I don’t think you are stupid. I don’t think you are ugly. I was mad and I couldn’t help it. I can’t stop my words when I’m mad. I’m sorry for all the times I hit you. I didn’t mean to, I don’t want to hurt you. I can’t control my body when I’m mad. I get mad so easily.

I think you are beautiful and funny. You are great artists. I love when you make up silly dances and invent new languages. Thank you for asking me to play with you all the time. I want to play, I really do, but most of the time I just can’t. I don’t know how.

Please don’t be mad at mom and dad for spending so much time on me. I’m sorry for all the games, cuddles, books and stories I’ve interrupted. They want to hear all about your day, they want to finish that game, that book, that song. They feel so sad every time they are pulled away from you. They see your face fall, they see your frustration. They don’t love me more and they definitely don’t love you less.

You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not your fault. But, please understand, it’s not my fault either. It’s nobody’s fault. I am going to have to work on things my whole life. It’s going to be hard for all of us. I’m going to need your help, a lot of it. I want to be a big brother you look up to. I want to protect you.

Please be patient with me. Please keep asking me to play. Please keep showing me your crazy dance moves and telling me your silly jokes. Please stick up for me if that time comes.

Please don’t stop loving me.

Please stand by me.

I love you both very much.


Your Big Brother


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