Raising Children with Disabilities: “I Am So Proud of the Big Sister You Are.”

Angelyn Harrenstein by Angelyn Harrenstein Additional Needs

Angelyn Harrenstein

Angelyn Harrenstein

I am a wife and mother to two children. I believe there is always, always, always something to be thankful for.

I am thankful that while I love them equally they are so very different from one another.

When we told our little girl she would be getting a baby brother or sister she was really too young yet to understand completely the change that was coming her way.

None of us understood, as we didn’t plan to welcome a child with special needs into our world.

But do you know who has probably handled it better than anyone?

Our little girl.

This is just a little note I’ve put together to our daughter on how I’m feeling about her today and her relationship with her brother.

To Our Daughter,

Proud is not a strong enough word to explain how I feel about you.

From the day you met your little brother in the hospital, you have been a better big sister than we could have ever dreamed up ourselves.

While we didn’t know yet the challenges life would bring with that new baby boy, you loved your brother the same.

You’re still too young, really, to know any different, but soon enough you will ask questions.

Other children you meet and become friends with will ask questions.

Just this weekend you led a little girl over to your brother, who was sitting in his Tumbleforms chair in his wagon and you said, “This is my brother.”

You had the biggest smile on your face, and were so excited to introduce your brother to a new friend.

As I looked on I admired the simplicity of your statement.

That’s your brother, and you love him.

It brings me great joy to see how proud you are of him, and to see you want to share him with others.

You are his biggest cheerleader and he adores you.

You help make his world go round.

You delight in his smiles and giggles as much as we do, and you share in the joy he brings to our family.

We can all learn a great deal from watching the way you interact with and protect him.

You don’t see him as, “different”, in any way.

I am so hopeful that you will grow up with a level of tolerance and compassion unfamiliar to other children your age because of your brother and your big heart.

I am so proud of the big sister you are.




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