The picture at the top of this post is one of my most favorite. It was taken about six years ago on a family trip to Myrtle Beach. We have a larger version of it hanging in our living room and it caught my eye as I was sitting back and observing the conversation between our kids. I was feeling content because we had all five kids at home, which can be a challenge now that they are all adults. Between jobs, college, relationships, and just life, it can be difficult to coordinate a simultaneous time to get together. I cherish these moments.
During the conversation they were all reminiscing about some of our family trips and the hilarious situations we have gotten ourselves in. Later in the evening I was reflecting on the conversation and feeling so grateful to have kids that get along so well. We are a blended family but it really doesn’t feel that way. The bond our kids share could rival any siblings out there and there is never a question of being there for each other. This is evident in all of them but especially in our three youngest.
Given their two older brothers have autism; our three youngest have had to learn to see the world through a different lens. This lens requires them to look at others with patience, flexibility, sensitivity, tolerance, understanding, perseverance, loyalty and most importantly unconditional love. Having a sibling can be difficult at times and having one with a disability can add unique challenges. Often the expectations put upon siblings to help out in a family of children with disabilities can be overwhelming. At times they can even get lost in the shuffle of a family just trying to maintain, and although this seems like a challenging way to grow up I think most siblings would say that they wouldn’t have it any other way. I know this is true of our kids.
So Thank You Siblings!
Thank you for being a constant friend.
Thank you for taking the smaller piece (of whatever).
Thank you for being okay with always going second, third, fourth orlast.
Thank you for putting yourself to bed at night when your parents were too tired.
Thank you for sharing every toy and even having many broken.
Thank you for making sure everyone got off the bus okay and into school.
Thank you for putting your concerns on hold when you knew it just wasn’t a good time.
Thank you for including everyone when your friends came over to hangout.
Thank you for being okay to leave the (park, movie, etc.) when things were challenging.
Thank you for speaking out when others were not kind.
Thank you for taking on so many adult responsibilities at such a young age.
Thank you for your patience, flexibility, sensitivity, tolerance, understanding, perseverance, loyalty and unconditional love.