A letter to a sibling of a special needs child.

My dear friend, if you are reading this and you happen to be a sibling to a special needs sibling then this post is just for you~
Whether your own parents have expressed this or not I have something to say to you and I think its important for you too hear this.
I can’t voice enough how wonderful and amazing you are, you probably don’t even know it. 
I know how difficult and challenging your life has been through the years, I know you have witnessed some of your friends living lives that maybe you have envied. Trips, snowmobiling, hiking, childhood camps, family snorkling trips, rock climbing, white water rafting and many other adventurous activities that you may have missed out on as a family. People may not have known how difficult it would be for you and your family to attend a catamaran snorkeling trip In the Bahama’s. 
Even though you may have missed out on so many things, please know that all the while you were being raised to become one of the most remarkable person anyone could know. You may have missed out on some parts of your childhood, however you will have had more life experience than many of your peers. 

Let me share with you how I know this;
I know you deal with more than your share. There are many times when your parents have to spend a lot of time away from you. 
You know and understand that they need to take your sibling to a doctor appt. Maybe your sibling has been admitted to the hospital and your parents have to be there for them. That leaves you in the hand of others, probably frightened, confused and nervous. 
I also know that parents spend countless hours on the phone, figuring out issues about your sibling. Or maybe your parents are busy throughout the day caring for your sibling physically, and I know my friend you see this more often than not. 

Your role maybe at times is to stand back, sadly that happens far too often as well. But what I do know is that while you are watching during the chaos you are seeing the love your parents have for your sibling. Unconditional love is being embedded in your heart.

You see the patience your parents have for the situations that are thrown at them daily and that my friend is being planted in your soul.

 

You witness first hand the fighting your parents take on to get everything your special siblings needs, you notice the tears, anger and frustration and there again my love its being ingrained into your mind.

You may not know this but all these little traits are molding you into a pretty amazing person.
I am sure you are aware of how hard your parents are working themselves to be sure you and your sibling are well taken care of. Even though the demand of your sibling takes away much of their time and attention, they are never forgetting you. In all honesty it is you who keeps them going. Its you they see when they get off the phone from a frustrating phone call and when they see you, a wave of love and relief washes over them. Once again they are reminded, to take a deep breath and smile. 

 

Your presence is never not noticed, and even when you are not around at the hospital or in the home your parents are yearning for you. It hurts them to have you gone, its painful when the home is upside down and they are missing you.
I am certain that being a sibling to a differently able brother or sister is a struggle. I am sure there are times your heart stings of jealousy. When you are worried sick over your sibling. I know you have those times when you are angry because you are missing a friends party or we have had to cancel a holiday or trip. All those feelings are completely validated and you have that right to upset every now and then.
What I will say is this, you will never find a closer family then the one you share with your special sibling. The closeness you have with your family is admirable and in all honesty in less you live it, you won’t understand. There are no secrets, everyone works as a unit and the support shared between one another is solid. We spend copious amounts of time together not because we have too but because we want too. Your family knows what’s important in life and they take nothing for granted. Family time is what is most important, nothing comes before that….each one of you knows how quickly something can change.
The bond you share with your sibling is like no other, you will always have eachother. Your sibling relies on you, cherishes you and admires you, where ever you go in life you’ll always have a cheerleader. 
Think of how it feels when you get to watch your sibling reach a milestone or over come a very difficult and challenging goal. Not everyone takes the time out of their lives to be available to their sibling, you on the other had would never miss it.
Your friendship with your sibling is indescribable, you are their protector, encourager and family.
At times when the house is quiet with worry, we see you walk by your sibling and touch a shoulder or smile while sharing a look between the two of you that only you will understand. Trust me when I say you are envied. 
 
People are so jealous of the relationship you share.
It does not go unnoticed, your parents are watching your interactions daily and it makes their heart burst with pride. They see everything you do for your brother or sister and they especially love seeing when you stick up for your sibling, and when you go out of your way to make sure he/she is included in everything. 

Parents are very aware of your efforts in helping with your siblings medical treatments, physical and occupational therapies. How you quietly hold hands with your sibling during any procedures or quickly place an oxygen mask back in the right place. 
It has always been a comfort having you available to place yourself in a room and watch intently waiting for direction on how to assist with care. You do such a wonderfully grown up job of lending a hand or heart where needed. 
I am sure your parents have expressed in their way how thankful they are for you, and if by chance its not a routine thing for them please know they think of you all day every day. You have not gone forgotten. 
Most importantly my lovely, the reason you are going to rock this thing we call life is because you
know unconditional love, you know true heart ache and you know what’s truly important.
You have lived a life that takes a strong heart and a stronger mind, and because of that you will mature much faster than your school mates, you will exhibit more compassion than many acquire in a life time. You will know more about health care than 95% of the adults you pass on the street and you will have a sense of humor that can destroy any rock thrown in your path of life. 
When you first experienced the reality that your sibling had special needs, it was then your destiny was imprinted in the stars. From then you were chosen to stand tall, stand proud and stand together.
You are going to be an awesome human being,  you are going to change lives…all because you were the sibling of a special needs brother~

*Although I have shared with you my own family photo’s, I want to make it clear that this letter is for Kailey (sister too a special needs brother) but not necessarily TO Kailey. I am writing this letter for anyone who has grown up with a special sibling. If/when I do write a personal letter to Kail, it will be for her where all things referenced will be about her and the love she has for her brother (written with a grin*). But in all seriousness…I know she can relate deeply to this letter, and for that my darling we are so proud~

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