Their Relationship Isn’t What I Planned, and That’s OK

As I lay in bed next to our 4-year-old, I feel myself wanting to hug him tighter and apologize. Some nights I look at his innocent face and tears well up in my eyes. This was not what we had planned for him.

The beauty is… he has no idea of the plans I made. He doesn’t know that I envisioned him helping his little brother ride his old trike around the block on a warm sunny day. He has no idea that I had scrapbook paper for the classic photos of shared baths in a tub full of bubbles. He doesn’t have a clue that I could hear their squeals of laughter and loud footsteps as they chased each other around the house. He doesn’t realize that I had their sibling relationship mapped out in my head before he even knew he was going to be a big brother.

Plans change. He helps his baby brother grab toys and stands next to him when he’s working hard in his stander. He’s part of the cheering squad during therapy. Throughout bath time, he sits next to the tub with me to help “make him happy.” He can light up his baby brother’s face by kissing his neck and playing peek-a-boo with his beloved monkey.

When his baby brother is crying and I’m whispering, “It’s okay, mommy’s here,” he looks into his eyes and says, “I’m here, baby brother, I’m here.”

He loves his baby brother so very much, and he doesn’t know about the plans I made. He will never know, and to be honest, I don’t think he cares. He loves his brother for who he is, not for who he isn’t.

He loves him for what he does, not for what he doesn’t do. He thinks his brother is special, but not for the reasons others know he’s special. He’s his big brother and that’s reason enough.

My plans changed and that’s OK. I’m still learning to let go of the relationship I thought they would have, but embracing their blossoming one is incredibly easy.

The Mighty wants to read more stories from siblings out there, whether it’s a favorite memory or a tough moment that taught you something. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio.

Want to end the stigma around disability? Like us on Facebook.

And sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Other

High School Officials Ask Special Needs Athlete to Remove Varsity Jacket

Michael Kelley, a student at East High School in Wichita, Kansas, plays extracurricular special needs basketball. Recently, Kelley’s mother, Jolinda Kelley, bought her son, who has Down syndrome and autism, a varsity letter to wear on his jacket like the other kids at school. She then found out school officials asked Kelley to remove the jacket, [...]

50 Pieces of Advice for Kids Whose Siblings Have Autism

If your family has just received an autism diagnosis, here are some very real pieces of advice from Estelle and Gavin, two “autism siblings.” 1. It will be very hard at times, but you will get though. 2. Even if you feel like he’s being annoying, make sure to go with the flow. 3. Always [...]

The Unexpected Lesson I Learned From an Autism ‘Checklist’ on the Internet

Dear Autism, Until just a few years ago, I’d heard your name, but I’d never met you. I had no idea what you were about. All I knew of you was that you were cruel, and you didn’t show yourself straight away. I once heard that a child could be developing normally, reaching every early milestone, [...]

The Practice That Helps Me Get Along With My Deceitful Disorder

Dear Cerebral Palsy, I’m frustrated with you. I feel you are deceitful. You deceive me by telling me I’m different from everyone else. You deceive me by telling me no one understands me. You deceive me by concluding I do not deserve love and support because articulating to others what I need is difficult at times. You deceive [...]