To My Sweet Boy- A Letter to a Brother with a Special Needs Sister
You are the sweetest 10-year-old and I am thankful every day that I was the lucky mother chosen for you. Your presence is a daily reminder of all that is good in the world. The sweet sounds that come from your lips in the form of “I love you” or the strength of your hug around my waist take away any pain and anger I feel dealing with your sister’s health concerns.
Nobody chooses the life we are given, and you have been given a difficult hand. Often being in the background while we navigate our world supporting J’s needs is not a comfortable place to be. (Click here to see where our story begins.) You willingly compromise and accommodate your wants and needs knowing that J will be happier because of it. You seldom complain about the change of plans or the seemingly unfair decisions your dad and I have made. You often bear the brunt of J’s outbursts and attitude. These moments that occur all too frequently in your young life are not fair, but they are our reality. I live in a constant state of guilt questioning your perception of what transpires each day. I think to myself, “Will R lay in bed tonight thinking that J is more important than him?” or “What if R thinks that we love J more than him because she takes up so much time in our life?” I do my best each day to spend quality time with you, to be present in your life (doing my best to understand Fortnite), and to make sure that your wants and needs are met.
Knowing this, you have also witnessed the unending love your sister has for you. You see the fight in her eyes when you mention something unkind that was said to you or when you get hurt. She would go to any length to protect you, physically or emotionally. You often compliment each other well. She tends to be more outgoing and curious, while you are the thinker. She leads the way when jumping off a boat into the murky water, going down the stairs into creepy basements, or removing the hook from a fish you caught. You lead the way in gentle reminders that she can overcome her obstacles, supportive words when they are needed most, and hints for a Fortnite win.
Given these obstacles that you face every day, I know you are growing into a more compassionate, aware young man. You see the realities of life rather than an image. You see that hard work can produce positive results. You witness honest emotion, learning that it is ok to cry out and ask for help. These moments are shaping who you are. Already, you have stood up for kids being picked on at school. You have been voted “Class Pizza”…everyone likes pizza and you are the kid that everyone likes. You ask about your sister’s day before talking about yourself. Together, these qualities create a man that is an emotionally involved husband, father, and friend. You will be comfortable offering compassion and kindness to those in need, knowing its value rather than seeing it as a weakness. You will not judge based on what you see or hear, knowing there is always more to one’s story than what can be seen at first glance.
Recently, on the first day of school, you looked at me while driving to school and said, “I would have the worst school year of my life if it meant that J had the best year of her life”. (Cue the tears as they fall again as I type this.) That statement sums up who you are…you are one of a kind and I could not be more proud of you. Continue leading the way, spreading kindness, compassion, and joy.