When an only child gets accompanied by a younger sibling, they’re often thrilled to have a new buddy to play with, but it also means that parents have to direct their attention to both of them from now on. Not getting as much attention as before is something children have a hard time adjusting to.
If a sibling is born who requires special attention and needs, the limited time and attention that parents have to give to their children might tend to be directed even more towards them, which can make the other siblings feel isolated. There’s no denying that children with special needs are just as much of a blessing as their siblings and make the family a better and happier place, but they generally do require more attention.
Katie Corkern from southern Lousiana was concerned that her son, a sibling to Connor, who requires special needs, would be feeling this way. Connor was born in 2006 and has complex special needs. His health is a major concern for his parents, as he suffers from seizures that can’t be helped by any form of medication.
Although Katie said that mom and dad’s time would be directed more towards Connor, she absolutely wanted to make sure that Connor’s brother wouldn’t be forgotten. Katie feels that not only special needs children deserve recognition, but that the same can be said for the brave siblings.
Katie wrote a letter to Connor’s brother and penned down her emotions, feelings, thoughts and hopes for her children. She explains why things aren’t easy in the house sometimes, or why Connor’s brother can’t always go to birthday parties, for example. Then she goes on to write how incredibly strong the bond is between Connor and his brother and expresses her feelings of immense gratitude.
Hey there little friend,
I heard you are the sibling to a child with “specialties” and I wanted to write you a letter explaining why you have a one up on life. I know your life might seem hard or different from your friends, but trust me you most definitely will be more prepared for this life than anyone else walking around this big ole Earth. Let me explain…
I heard that you deal with more than any child should, like having your parents spend a lot of time away from you. You know they are taking care of your sibling, possibly bringing him or her to the doctor, maybe your sibling is admitted in the hospital often, they might be on the phone taking care of insurance business, or even physically caring for your sibling constantly. I know my friend. You see these happenings more often than not. You see the love that your parents have for your special sibling and it is being embedded into your heart. You see the patience they exhibit when caring for him or her and it is being buried into your soul. You see that your parents never stop trying to get what your sibling needs and it is being ingrained into your mind. You see your parents exhaust themselves making sure that your sibling and you are well taken care of and loved and you are learning from this. You may not know it, but all of these “little” things are teaching you traits of how to be an amazing person.
I’m certain that being the sibling to a child with different needs than most is a struggle. I know you have those moments where your heart stings with jealousy, where you are worried sick over your sibling, or when you get mad because you can’t go to all the birthday parties you want to. All of those times are totally understandable. You have a right to be upset every now and then, but I can bet that you can think of some pretty cool things that you have in your household that your friends don’t. How about all the cool equipment your sibling has? Huh? I know you’ve climbed into that wheelchair or played with his super cool assistive technology toys! How about getting to see your sibling reach a milestone and that proud feeling that overcomes your body? You get to experience a friendship that is like no other. Your sibling completely and utterly trusts and loves you with a love that can penetrate the coldest heart. They look at you with those beautiful eyes and know that you are there for them no matter what. The bond you have is indescribable. You are their sibling, their friend, and their protector. Your sibling might not be able to speak verbally, but we both know that your hearts together carry on conversations that us adults could never possibly understand. And I tell you what, we are so extremely jealous.
Did you know that your parents watch you and your siblings interactions on a daily basis and their heart literally wants to burst out of their body with pride and love? They see everything you do for your brother or sister. They notice when you walk by and give them a quick kiss, stroke their hair, or give them a hello. Your mom and dad love to witness you sticking up for your special sibling, or when you go out of your way to make sure he or she is included in everything. They quietly observe you as you help with therapies, put oxygen masks back in place, hold their hand during tests or doctor visits, or wipe their innocent little face. Your parents recognize every time you perch yourself on the counter to help make medicines or bring them a diaper, a syringe, or whatever else they are calling out to you! You do such a crazy amazing job helping your parents. It surely takes a wonderful little boy or girl to do what you do on a daily basis. I’m sure they tell you thank you, but sometimes if they don’t just know THEY ARE BEYOND THANKFUL FOR YOU!
But most important of all, my dear one, the reason you are going to ROCK this life- you know true love, you know true heart ache, and you know what is truly important. You have lived a life that takes a strong heart and a strong mind. You will mature much faster than your schoolmates (don’t be too hard on them), you’ll exhibit compassion that astounds others, you’ll know more about healthcare than 95% of adults you pass on the street, and you will most definitely have a wicked sense of humor that will enable you to keep life joyful no matter what! When you were introduced to your sibling with complex needs for the very first time, that moment in time is pinned in the stars, for it was then that your destiny was determined. You will be an awesome human being and you are going to change lives for the better….all because you were the sibling of a child with specialties. Rock on my brave friend!
All my love,
The momma of a child like you and your special sibling