I’m so thankful that you’re her big brother

Jodi Shenal by Jodi Shenal Additional Needs

Jodi Shenal

Jodi Shenal

I'm a stay-at-home mom with two amazing children. My son is on the Autism spectrum and my daughter has a rare genetic disorder and multiple disabil...

There’s a scary place that I catch myself thinking about more often as the years go by.

I don’t allow myself to stay there, or to be preoccupied over this place, for very long. I can’t because it’s all too much to bear and I solemnly keep these thoughts to myself.

The place that terrifies me most is the FUTURE.

Anxiety sets in whenever I envision what lies ahead, far down the road. It ignites great worry.

However, glimpses of the future feel a little less frightening, when I remind myself that YOU are in your sister’s life.

As a big brother to a little sister with multiple disabilities, you’re wise beyond your years. Your heart is filled with empathy; more than most people possess.

Although I know it’s not always easy for you, and you certainly sacrifice a lot, I’m so thankful that you’re her big brother.

When you were eleven years old, you said something to me that was beautifully moving; it meant more than you’ll ever know. You touched my heart with your words as you sat playing with your sister one afternoon.

“I’ll take care of her when you get too old.”

Your unexpected declaration caught me completely off guard. Tears stung my eyes as I watched you gently pat her on the back and resume playing with her.

You had no clue that my heart had just melted into a puddle; you were oblivious to the pride I felt at that moment.

How could a child come to such a heavy conclusion, out of the blue? It was as if you could see straight into your Momma’s soul.

Even though I’d never expect you to shoulder the responsibility of care alone for her, that day, you gave me a sense of peace.

Knowing that the two of you would have each other, the future seemed brighter.

You are a teenager now, and you relish your solitude. More of your time is spent in your room listening to music and playing video games.

That doesn’t lessen the fact that you care deeply and still harbor concern for your little sister.

Over the years, I’ve watched you learn how to cope with things that most kids your age could never grasp.

For all the times you came running to my aid when your sister had a seizure…for all the times you started a timer, brought me the oxygen tank and even called for help…I’m truly sorry that you’ve had to endure some really scary trials, but I am so thankful that you’re her big brother.

You are a whiz at operating her wheelchair ramp and helping her in and out of our van.

When we’re out and about, you lovingly do these things for her, without my having to ask.

Countless times in the grocery store, you’ve offered to push her along, without hesitation.

I’ll forever cherish memories of you spinning her around in her chair or walking a little too fast with her, just to make her laugh.

For all the times you’ve been dragged to therapy sessions and specialist appointments without a single complaint. For inquiring every afternoon if she had a good day at school, I’m so thankful that you are her big brother.

Our home, on our family’s land, will someday be yours, should you decide to live here.

When we briefly discussed this recently, you nonchalantly mentioned that your sister would be welcome to live here with you.

Once again, you hadn’t the slightest inkling that you made my heart burst. You had no hint of how comforting your kind profession was to me.

Dwelling on the future is daunting. Uncertainties bring fear.

One thing that I know for certain is that I am so very proud of you. Appreciating that you’ll be on her side, I can breathe a little easier.

It’s clear that you’ll see to it that your sister is properly cared for. You carry an abundance of compassion and a paramount sense of family. That speaks volumes about you, son.

For all that you do, and for all that you are, I’m so very thankful that you are her big brother.


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