When I Saw My Daughter’s Disability Through Her Brother’s Eyes

One day I sat down with my son, Jake, to do homework, and he told me, “Mommy, some kids just don’t get it.” I could tell he was unusually frustrated and wanted to get something off his chest. As he began to tell me about the day’s events, I quickly figure out this had something to do with his youngest sister, who has a disability.

Jake is a proud big brother and is happy to see his sister at school. She uses a wheelchair or a walker in the hallways, and whenever his class passes by, he gets out of line and gives his sister a quick hug or a high-five.

brother and sister

On this day, his class was lined up in front of the restrooms and his friends saw his sister walking by. They wondered what was wrong with her, why she needed a walker and why she made strange noises. The questions quickly turned into mean comments.

Jake quickly stepped in and told them to stop. This was his sister, and she walked differently because she has cerebral palsy. It wasn’t her fault that she was born with a body that worked differently, and she works very hard to learn to walk like everyone else.

I assured my sweet little boy that he did the right thing, and as I hugged him, I made sure he knew I was proud of him. It’s not easy to speak up and a take a stand when others may not understand.

Then he told me something that changed the way I looked at my daughter’s disability: “Mommy, when Eve gets older, I hope she marries someone nice.” While I was busy preparing my heart for the fact that she would never be able to do many typical things, Jake saw her future without limits. My worries of her disability were too present, and I should have traded them for big dreams. He opened my eyes to a world where I can dream of anything for Eve, even a nice husband.

And while only a fraction of our dreams may become reality, Jake’s outlook has been a beautiful gift. We talk about a future where she may live with us in adulthood, but we give room for her siblings to envision a typical life for her as well. It’s a beautiful balance, all thanks to her caring big brother.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one moment you saw your own or a loved one’s disability or disease through someone else’s eyes? 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.

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