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There’s a Benefit to Being Teased by Your Siblings When You’re Sick

Dear Siblings,

You were 6 and 4 years old when I came into this world, but you didn’t know it yet. When you awoke that Sunday morning, Nana and Papa were there instead of Mommy and Daddy. Nana and Papa tried to explain as best as they could to you both that your new baby sister was going to be here a lot earlier than we thought.

Once you got to the hospital, Mommy and Daddy had to explain again that you couldn’t see me because I was very sick. At such a young age, you were so confused. You had to spend the next several months with different relatives, different neighbors, everyone but the two people you really wanted, your Mommy and Daddy.

I apologize that all of their time and attention went from you two, to me. You both had to adjust to the new sounds of apnea alarms going off, O2 monitors alerting, the frantic rush of our parents running for me, nurses in the home and the spontaneous times we would leave for the hospital and not come home for quite some time. You had to adjust to a new way of life, that your baby sister was a little different. That it seemed like she got all the attention and you didn’t.

Over the course of the next several years, everything just seemed to fall into place, like it should have from the beginning. I turned into a seemingly healthy kid and could do just about anything you both could do. We were just another “normal” family. But it happened again… When you were 19 and 17 years old, the whole world changed again. It was another typical day for you both when you got the news that your sister had the ambulance called and was being transported to Critical Care.

Though, one thing I am grateful for, is you were both so much older this time around. You understood what was going on. Unlike when I was born, you were too young to understand. But I realize now that it wasn’t just my entire world that changed again. It was yours, too. You were dealing with a lot in your own lives, not to mention me. Graduating from high school, thinking about colleges, having friends, etc… But once again, all the attention went back to me. Mom and Dad spent all their time with me. They went from being with me, to work, back to me.

I see now all the times you spent in the waiting rooms. I see now all the time you spent with me at the hospital, instead of hanging out with your friends. I see now that your heart was just as broken as mine when I got another life-threatening diagnosis. I see now everything you had to give up for me. Just know that if you ever felt like your efforts went unknown, they didn’t. I may not express very well my thanks and gratitude to you both enough. But just know I see it now and I’m sorry.

Thank you for all those times you picked on me, teased me and tormented me. You were the ones who didn’t make me feel like I was any different than you were, despite the fact that I was. Thank you for inviting me on some of your dates and making me feel like I was the special one. Thank you for inviting me to hang out with your friends like I was part of the group.

Thank you for never treating me any different. Thank you for always seeing me and never once, my illnesses.

THANK YOU. Thank you for being my siblings. Thank you for being you.

This post originally appeared on “Warrior in Disguise.”

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