Dear Sibling to a Child With Special Needs, Let Me Tell You Why You're Amazing

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Hey there,

I heard you’re the sibling to a child with special needs, and I wanted to write you a letter explaining why you have a one-up on life. I know your life might seem hard or different from your friends, but trust me, you most definitely will be more prepared for this life than anyone else. Let me explain…

three brothers, one in wheelchair, all holding hands

I heard you deal with more than any child should. Your parents spend a lot of time away from you. You know they’re taking care of your sibling, possibly bringing him or her to the doctor. Maybe your sibling is admitted in the hospital often; your parents might be on the phone taking care of insurance business or even physically caring for your sibling. I know, my friend. You see this more often than not. You see the love your parents have for your special sibling, and it’s being embedded into your heart. You see the patience they exhibit when caring for him or her, and it’s being buried into your soul. You see that your parents never stop trying to get what your sibling needs, and it’s being ingrained into your mind. You see your parents exhaust themselves so your sibling and you are well taken care of, and you’re learning from this. You may not know it, but all of these little things are teaching you traits of how to be an amazing person.

I’m certain that being the sibling to a child with different needs is a struggle. I know you have those moments where your heart stings with jealousy, where you’re worried sick over your sibling. I know you have those moments when you get mad because you can’t go to all the birthday parties you want to. All of those times are totally understandable. You have a right to be upset every now and then, but I can bet that you can think of some pretty cool things you have in your household that your friends don’t. How about all the cool equipment your sibling has, huh? I know you’ve climbed into that wheelchair or played with his super cool assistive technology toys. How about getting to see your sibling reach a milestone and that proud feeling that overcomes your body? You get to experience a friendship like no other. Your sibling completely and utterly trusts and loves you with a love that can penetrate the coldest heart. They look at you with those beautiful eyes and know you’re there for them no matter what. The bond you have is indescribable. You’re their sibling, their friend and their protector. Your sibling might not speak verbally, but we both know your hearts together carry on conversations us adults could never possibly understand.  And I tell you what, we’re so extremely jealous.

two brothers playing

Did you know your parents watch you and your sibling’s interactions on a daily basis and their heart literally wants to burst out of their body with pride and love? They see everything you do for your brother or sister. They notice when you walk by and give them a quick kiss, stroke their hair or give them a hello. Your mom and dad love to witness you sticking up for your special sibling or when you go out of your way to make sure he or she is included in everything. They quietly observe you as you help with therapies, put oxygen masks back in place and hold hands during tests or doctor visits. Your parents recognize every time you perch yourself on the counter to help prep medicines or bring them a diaper, a syringe or whatever else they need. You do such an amazing job helping your parents. It surely takes a wonderful little boy or girl to do what you do on a daily basis. I’m sure they tell you thank you, but sometimes if they don’t just know they are beyond thankful for you. 

two brothers hugging

But most important of all, my dear one, the reason you are going to rock this life: You know true love, you know true heartache and you know what’s truly important. You have lived a life that takes a strong heart and a strong mind. You will mature much faster than your schoolmates (don’t be too hard on them), you’ll exhibit compassion that astounds others, you’ll know more about healthcare than 95 percent of adults you pass on the street, and you will most definitely have a wicked sense of humor that will enable you to keep life joyful no matter what. When you were introduced to your sibling with complex needs for the first time, that moment in time is pinned in the stars, for it was then that your destiny was determined. You will be an awesome human being and you’re going to change lives for the better… all because you were the sibling of a child with special needs. Rock on, my brave friend.

All my love,

The momma of a child like you and your special sibling

This post first appeared on Mommies of Miracles.

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The Unexpected Gift My Mother-In-Law Gave Me the Christmas After I Lost My Child

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She would have been 13.

I haven’t thought about her in a while. But for years, thoughts of her consumed my waking moments and my dreams.

I was pregnant, and it was Christmas time. All was jolly and bright — with the gentle mixture of fear. What would motherhood be like and would I be good at it? All I knew was a strong desire to mother was within, and we would figure it out together. I would grow into motherhood with each breath my future daughter took.

Three days before Christmas, I knew something was wrong; I began to miscarry a dream and a fragile life. I could see it every time I looked in the mirror, fear taunting me. I spent a few hours in an ER room longing to hear a heartbeat that was never meant to beat.

I went home, pulled myself together, packed our gifts in the car and said goodbye to my mother. There was more family to see with Christmas just days away. All I felt was heartache tinged with anger and questions. Why me?

I opened maternity gifts, I tried to celebrate with our family, and then I slipped upstairs to grieve without watching eyes. I lay down in the bed, pulled the covers over my head and fell apart.

My mother-in-law followed me upstairs, sat next to me, and cried with me.

“It was our baby, too,” she said.

I’ve never forgotten that moment or that feeling, but at times I’ve returned that same gift of just crying with those who are hurting.

I don’t know what you’re experiencing right now, but I know so many of you are dealing with a loss of a loved one or maybe even a death of a dream. I pray that you find joy, deep joy, in this season.

Whitley & Elise under the tree
My girls, Whitley and Elise

I have experienced healing and restoration in my body and received the joy of two beautiful girls. But, I haven’t forgotten that Christmas filled with tears and how God met with me and cradled me through it all. My arms literally ached to hold a baby of my own.

Someone sitting next to you might be swallowed up in grief; don’t let the awkwardness of not knowing what to say stop you from reaching out to them. They don’t need you to say the right thing, they just need to be seen and for you to acknowledge their pain. If we do anything at all praiseworthy this season, let it be the act of noticing others and reminding them that they haven’t been forgotten. Give that awkward hug and don’t pull away too soon. Send that email and love on someone with your words. Take back some of those gifts that you really don’t need, and do something for someone else.

So many this season have experienced loss, and I just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you, of your pain, and if I could, I would sit beside you and carry that pain with you and just cry.

This post originally appeared on JenniferReneeWatson.com.

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 [email protected].
Hint! Some gifts don’t come in packages.

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This State Trooper Pulled Over a Woman Driving to See Her Sick Son. Then He Did Something Awesome.

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These state troopers went above and beyond to help a mother get to her ill son.

Helen Smith, 87, from southern Nevada, found out Friday that her son, Randy, was sick and in a hospital in Ogden, Utah, CBS News reported. Smith attempted to drive the 350 miles to be with him, only to be stopped in central Utah by State Trooper Jeff Jones.

Jones pulled Smith over for driving too close to the patrol car and was about to let her go with a warning when she reversed into his car, The Associated Press reported. Jones determined she was not fit to drive the whole journey on her own — but instead of sending her home, he drove her to Juab County, where he handed her off to another trooper who drove her to Utah County. Another trooper met her there.

In total, Smith had four trooper escourts to get her to Ogden Regional Medical Center to see her ailing son. The final trooper in the procession, Andrew Pollard, personally led Smith into the medical center.

To hold her hand walking into the hospital was very, very rewarding,” he told CBS.

Smith says her son is not doing well, but she’s happy to be with him during this time.

Watch the full story in the video below: 

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When People Say My Son Owes His Life to Me

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People have asked me what I’m thankful for and to even write about it. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers write about therapists or family members or even friends of their kids. But me? I’m thankful for my son, Kreed.

He changed my life the moment he came into it. Little things ceased to matter and my whole world became about making his life better. It became about helping him find meaning in his own life, but at the same time, giving my life so much more meaning. He’s taught me about true struggle and true perseverance with his ability to smile and continue on his days, even when he’s in immense pain. Or we might have a yelling match, but he’ll still instantly cuddle with me because he understands unconditional love on a level far higher than any of us will ever understand. He understands the true meaning of love and that words or actions in hard moments have zero bearing on the actual love between two people.

Kreed taught me about what’s truly important in life. He’s taught me that it’s people who make the difference — not things. Kreed may like something or somewhere, but in the end it’s the people who make it all special for him.

I thank him for making me a better person. How many people can say that? He makes me want to be better, to work harder so he can have a life that’s easier for him or a life he wants. Because he has to work so much harder every day than I will ever have to. So he’s taught me to appreciate what I can do so much more and what I don’t have to face.

mom with kreed


Our life is all about Kreed, but in living a life about him, he’s made me a far better person than I could have ever hoped to be. I’m kinder, more patient and I’m stronger and more courageous because I have to fight for his life too. I’ve learned to persevere and overcome whatever the world puts in front of us. I’m stubborn, and I never give up because it’s not just my life I’m fighting for but his too. I have a greater level of sympathy and empathy that I would have never possessed otherwise. I’ve learned to live in the moment and not have anxiety about the past or future because it’s impossible to do so when you are with someone 24/7 that lives and breathes only in the present. I can’t change the past and I don’t have a clue of what will come next, but I can breathe in the present, and set ourselves up for a better future.

Is our life hard? Yes — much more so than an average person’s life with a typical child. I’m never without Kreed except for brief moments of time and that’s how it will be for the rest of our lives. But knowing this has helped me push Kreed harder to learn to communicate more and be in public and interact with others so he can always go anywhere with me. I can’t do so many things other families are able to, but that’s OK, because it’s the people that matter and not the stuff I do or don’t get to do.

Kreed has taught me I can be bitter about our life and live in anger and sadness or I can accept the life we have and make it the best possible life with what we’ve got. I can choose to find the joy and happiness in our moments and let go of the anger and sadness. Our life has been so much happier as a result.

So when people ask me what I’m thankful for… it’s Kreed. Always has been and always will be. I would not be the person I am today without him and I certainly wouldn’t be this better version of myself. Kreed made me a better person. Period. Many people say Kreed owes his life to me, but what so many other people don’t realize is that I owe my life to him.

Editor’s note: It is with a heavy heart we share the news that Kreed passed away on May 8, 2016. Our hearts are with his family, and we’re so grateful to help keep his memory alive on our site. He was truly one of the mighty.

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To the Redheaded Kid In Front of Me In Line

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Dear Kid In Front of Me in Line,

Before I start, let me just assure you I think you’re an amazing kid. I know you aren’t used to getting letters from strangers, but this is the only way I can think to express my admiration of the person you already are and the person you’re still yet to be.

When I pulled into the lunchtime line and saw I was fifth or sixth in line behind a bunch of young teens, yes including you, I immediately tensed up. You see, these are unsafe situations for me. I’m fat, I’m in a wheelchair, I’m a pretty big target for small hearts. But I noticed something right away. I saw that they were switching their gazes and their open hostility from you to me. Of course I saw your bright red hair. You already know that in a world browns and yellows, bright orange-red hair makes you really, really, really easy to see. Like me. I hope you don’t mind the comparison, and somehow I don’t think you will; I’m guessing there are times you just wish for a moment or two of anonymity.

So, they switched their comments from you to me. Do you know, kid, that I was in this situation once when I was your age, and I didn’t handle it like you did? For me, I was so weary, and this is neither excuse or reason what I did was wrong, of being treated differently that when I had the opportunity, when another walked into firing range, I joined in. I became what I hated. It was only for maybe two or three minutes, and I want you to know I’m more wounded by what I did in those two minutes than I was from all the years of being the one. The one that was easy to laugh at, to mock and to purposely hurt — I don’t like the word “bullying” because it doesn’t express what I experienced; I experienced violence, social violence. That means, of course, that what I did in those couple of minutes was violent — purposeful violence. I won’t minimize it by calling it bullying.

You, like me, saw them switch from you to me. I saw in your eyes, when you looked at me, a deep understanding. You stood there thinking, only for a second, and then you did one of the bravest, smartest, most compassionate things I think I’ve ever seen. You squared your shoulders and you pushed through the crowd of boys, the ones who had targeted you before me. They parted, just parted, in the face of your determination. You picked up a food tray. You stood for a couple of minutes, knowing they were watching you; then you turned and you said to me, “Would you like this?”

An act of kindness, in the midst of meanness and — yes, social violence. You did something kind. You exploded the atmosphere with what you did. I thanked you loudly. Ruby, standing beside me, thanked you too. In those seconds it was just you and us. The rest were irrelevant. They were made bystanders to a moment of connection. And connection trumps disconnection in the way love trumps hate, every single time.

After our thank yous, you turned back into place. And those that had been shamed, not by what you did but by knowing they didn’t do what you did, stood silently, not even looking at each other, as they waited their turn.

So, redheaded kid in the line in front of me, thanks.

I wish there was a bigger word than thanks, but for now that’s all I got.

And I give it to you with the deepest respect for who you are and who you will one day be.

Dave

This post originally appeared on Rolling Around in My Head.

For all of November, The Mighty is celebrating the people we don’t thank enough. If you’d like to participate, please submit a thank you note along with a photo and 1-2 sentence bio to [email protected].

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A Letter to a Child With Special Needs on Their First Day of Life

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Close up of a newborn baby in the hospital. Dear Sweet Child,

Today a fighter was born. You. Yes, you. The sweetest, tiniest, most precious little soul. You are strong, brave and full of courage. I’d like to welcome you to the world and tell you a little about what to expect on your journey. It may be a confusing time for you. Machines monitoring your progress, your parents’ tears falling gently upon your delicate skin and doctors swirling around you. Never fear, you are loved. You will soon find clarity and your purpose. Life for you will be a little different than it is from most. You see, you were born special.

There will be days in your life when you will reach for the stars and other days when you will feel defeated no matter how hard you try. There will be triumphs and celebrations and at times unexpected set-backs. Your life will be a tender balance of difficulties and joy. But you will undoubtedly do amazing things. You have a gift to light up dark rooms, to speak without words, to inspire others and to demonstrate unconditional love. But the world won’t always make it easy for you to shine like the star you were born to be.

There will be times when you are met with cruelty. Stares, hurtful words, uneducated people and those who cannot yet see the beauty that is before them. It may make you feel lonely or worthless, but you must remember you are far from those things. Your heart will be wounded at times, but you need to know you are never alone. Because your heart is so big, you’ll be quick to forgive. You’ll teach more lessons in one minute than some can learn in a lifetime.

The world around you will occasionally be complicated and messy. You may hear predictions about your destiny and have expectations placed upon you. Remember you are defined by none of it. There are no limits to what you can achieve and accomplish. No one can determine what you will be capable of during your journey. You will be a surprise each day to those around you.

There may be scary and hard times too. You may experience a multitude of medical procedures, endure countless hours of therapy and even accumulate various types of assistive devices to help you along in your day. There will be a team of those loving you through those times, and they will bring you comfort to see you through all of it.

You are going to do so much with your time here. It is not about what you can do or can’t do that will define your life. Spreading love will be your specialty. You may encounter hate, spite and ignorance, but the love within you will be stronger than all of it.

We’re really glad you’re here. Your life brings so much value to the world. You might need a pep talk sometimes and that’s OK. We all need that from time to time. But no matter what, remember never give up hope that things will be better tomorrow.

For now, remember this: When you feel low on smiles and you feel it’s over before you’ve had a chance to begin, dig deep and remember your purpose. Laugh loud, live in the moment and dream big and most of all remember you matter in this world.

Love,

Stacy, Chris, Noah and Luke

This post originally appeared on Noah’s Miracle.

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