You know fear as a parent. When you are pregnant you fear that your pregnancy will be difficult, you fear labor, you fear an imperfect child, you fear that you will never again be able to see your feet.
Then your child is born and you begin to fear a whole different set of things. You fear they will never sleep thru the night. Then they do and you fear something happened so you go in to check on them, waking them up in the process and start the whole process over again.
And then the first day of school. You begin to fear a whole bunch more!!!!
But when your child is special needs, you end up fearing all of the above with an extra dose of holy crap.
One of my fears with Boo, is actually about sisters. Allie has always loved Boo. From the beginning, she was attentive and patient. We are extremely lucky. Allie has never shown the sibling rivalry, jealousy or acted out like we have been warned. Allie has always been a loving, if photo hogging, protective big sister. She is Boo’s biggest champion, her favorite person and not to give her too much to gloat over, the most patient with Boo.
I wonder how long it can possibly last. I was recently reading a book called, Easy to Love but Hard to Raise. In the book there is a chapter called A Tale of Two Brothers. Laura Shumaker tells of her two sons, one with autism and one a typical boy. When they were little, the younger brother always defended his older brother.
But as they grew up, the younger brother became embarrassed. He no longer invited friends over. Laura didn’t notice until the older brother went away to a live-in school. That was when the younger brother thrived. Her house became kid central, there were more activities, etc…. Laura never realized how her younger son had to change the boy he was meant to be because of how his brother shaped their world.
I never want that to happen. I fear the day Allie becomes embarrassed by her sister (more than the run-of-the-mill sibling crap). Allie is Boo’s champion and caretaker. I overheard Allie recently say that when she is older her house will be big enough for Boo to come live with her.
Selfishly, I want it to remain that way.
This weekend I was honored to attend my two nephew’s Eagle ceremony. The brothers, while they aggravate one another to know end, have this wonderful bond. They do everything together. Born just 17 months apart, they act like twins. Where one is you will find the other. They have that “normal” sibling relationshipk, one that Allie and Boo might never have.
I remember when I had Allie. I was a one-and-done mother. I saw my nephews (who are much older) and thought no way in hell can I handle two. I didn’t think I had it in me to love (or have the patience for) another child. Now, I cannot imagine my life without Boo. She has completed our family in ways I never imaged.
But….she does impact in ways we never thought she would either.
We try not to let Boo’s many appointments, therapies and Boo-ness affect Allie. She has her riding, her friends and I joined the darn PTA to become more involved with what is going on in Allie’s life. But Allie is not always invited to birthday parties,she is not invited for play dates and hardly ever has friends over. I am not sure if it is due to Allie being Allie, just 3rd grade politics, our own business (I don’t ever think to offer to have more kids running around!) or if her friend’s parents feel Allie cannot go because of Boo. That we are too busy or stressed or whatever.
Boo is Boo. And she is to be valued to for the love and joy she has brought into our lives. I worry how to keep her Allie’s joy and not her burden.
I wish, pray and hope that Allie will always love Boo more tomorrow than she does today.