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To My 'Typical' Son, You Are a 'Rock' to Your Brother With a Disability

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To my oldest son, you have no idea how important you are in your little brother’s life.

The day I went in for my induction, I cried and I was scared. I didn’t know what to expect adding another child to our small family. I was also fearful of what to expect when I delivered him; I had all of these what-ifs thrown into my head throughout my high-risk pregnancy. And the main worry I had was how you would react to your little brother’s arrival. You had been the only little boy in our lives the last three-and-a-half years,  and now you would have to share the spotlight with another little human.

Our first year with your little brother was anything but easy, and yet you took it with stride. Mommy had to frequently take him to weight checks, well visits, therapies, hospitalizations, and specialists far and away. You helped this most difficult part of our lives—if it is even possible—be less challenging by your strength and tenacity. You loved wearing your pajamas to visit us in the Children’s hospital for a “movie night.” You made things just so easy. You are wise beyond your years.

Over the years you continue to share that spotlight with your brother. Of course you both have your typical sibling rivalry, jealousy, and fights about who gets to sit on mommy’s lap. Through our new sense of normalcy, you are exactly what your little brother needs—he needs that strength and drive. He looks up to you on a daily basis, and you amaze his sweet heart every single day. I see the adoring eyes follow you from room to room. He may not vocalize how much he loves you, but I see it in the way he watches you. He loves to do everything you do, from dancing to playing with your action figures. He even started to replicate your “vroom” sounds when he plays with the little matchbox cars. He furthermore gives me a such a scare every time he tries to climb up that bunk bed ladder to play up there, just like you. Despite the panic attack, I find it so sweet. You are the reason your little brother fights so damn hard to overcome his delays—he looks up to you so much.

You are giving him that same spunk and fierceness, everything he needs to fight this hard world.

You may not understand it or see it, but you are helping him grow.

You are his very first friend, greatest of friends, and I am extremely thankful for that.

I hate to admit that sometimes it worries me how you play with him no differently than you and me. I have been keeping him in this huge bubble, trying to shield and protect him from anything and everything. You wrestle and play like a typical boy does, and sometimes he gets hurt. When he does get a minor bump, it gives me affirmation that he is just like you, a typical growing boy. He isn’t this fragile child who will shatter like glass after a tumble. He can do anything, just like you but in his own way.

I know as you both get older you will continue to treat him as such. You will help him and stick up for him. I know that when he falls, you will help him up, and when he calls, you will go to him. It gives me great comfort knowing that he has you in his life. It allows me to stress a little less knowing that you will be there for him when I can’t be there for him anymore.

As a mother of a son with a disability, I have this constant fear about the future and who will care for him when I go. But I can start to rest more easily knowing he has a rock of a big brother, like you, in his corner.

You are his brother, his protector and his best friend. You are the rock your brother needs.

Originally published: April 8, 2019
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