A Sister’s A-Ha Moment
When we first learned that our youngest son had ADHD, ODD, sensory processing disorder (he is a seeker!), and several other things we knew we would hit road blocks. We knew there would be issues with family and friends accepting this diagnoses. We have already had friends back off in the last several months. I am not sure of the reason. It might be because I talk about the therapy and struggles with the school to much. Maybe they see my son in a different light and now he is to much to be around. Either way thanks for making my true friend list more pure.
My family has been living in a pressure cooker for so long we didn’t even know we were in one. On top of all of this we have an anaphylactic tree nut allergy child and had to change how we eat, what we buy and limiting eating out. My youngest son Gabriel has lymphatic malformations that runs a long his carotid artery and wind pipe. He has had three surgeries to remove what they can and now has an awesome “toughman” scar that runs across his neck. Our oldest daughter Abigail was wonderful with his recovery. She would watch him like a hawk to make sure he didn’t mess with his neck as it healed. She was more than glad to get him ice cream when he wanted it. She loved playing with him while he was in the hospital; always telling him how brave he was.
As Gabriel grew older, his other problems became more pronounced. Abigail and Gabriel began to react to each other like oil and water. I am pretty sure that I have some hearing lost from some of their epic fights. When we found out why Gabriel was having such a hard time we tried to explain it to Abigail (11 years old). We tried to help guide her with how to handle tough interactions with him. I honestly thought she would respond to him like she did with the lymphatic malformation or the food allergy; sweet, understanding and protective. It finally dawned on me that she was having a hard time accepting that her little brother had special needs since she couldn’t see them; just like many family and friends. She would get upset with him and always ask “Why does he do that?” “Why doesn’t he just stop?” His melt downs would embarrass her. I tried to break it down to her that some special needs you can see and some you can not see. Even if you can’t see them doesn’t mean that they aren’t there and that the person doesn’t need love and understanding.
The AHA! moment came early last month. We went to pick her up from a friends birthday party. Gabriel started to play with the balloons there. The birthday girl’s momma said that everyone could take a balloon home with them. Naturally Gabriel wanted the one Abigail picked out. She wouldn’t give it to him which brought on a massive melt down right in front of all the girls! Thankfully the girl’s momma knew what was going on with Gabriel, and is a special needs mother herself. We got him in the car and left.
Fast forward to the next Monday. All the girls were at school and began to make fun of Gabriel right in front of Abigail. In tears she told them to knock it off. When she told me what happened she just broke down. It was the first time she realized that he was a little different from other children. Other children will be mean to him because of this some times.
I am so proud of her for sticking up for her brother. We will move again as the Army dictates. My children will gain new sets of friends, but they will always have each other. Even though we are a special needs family that old saying still rings true in our house “Only I can mess with my siblings.” We are all on our own journey. We have different timelines on accepting and that is okay.
That is so awesome! I was a nanny for a family with an ODD child and the siblings did not help at all. Congratulations on the break through!!!!
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