Proud to Be Your Sister

Proud to Be Your Sister

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Be The Best You Can Be

Proud to Be Your Sister

Sisters function as safety nets in a chaotic world simply by being there for each other.

~Carol Saline

Dear Alex,

There was never a certain time in my life when I found out you had special needs. The fact was always there, even if I didn’t understand what “special needs” meant. Somehow, I just knew that you were different. Back at age four, it didn’t matter that you couldn’t play with me or that you had so many doctors. I thought it was cool that you went to a school with so many “fun” things to do. I was jealous that you got to have OT and PT every week.

As I got older, I realized that your special school, doctors, and therapies weren’t such an awesome thing. I began to understand that you weren’t just special. You were a special needs child.

Brain damage. ADHD. Legal blindness. Epilepsy. This is how the doctors describe you. But I have always seen more. I saw you speak for the first time at three years old. I saw you being rushed away in an ambulance at five in the morning. I saw you trying a new food and spitting it out. I saw you smile at me and it was that moment that I realized what a great brother I had.

When we were little and shared a room I never slept in my own bed. Do you remember, how as soon as Mom and Dad would shut the door, I’d climb into bed with you? We’d stay up for hours, playing our silly little word games, and I’d teach you how to say new things. I cherish those nights when we became more than just two siblings. When you became my best friend.

It could be a coincidence that Anna and Maddy shared a room and you and I shared one. But it was the best coincidence that has ever happened to me.

You were always afraid of so many things. The birthday song, fire, cameras, juice, fruit, clapping… I could go on and on. You are still afraid, trapped in a world of blurry color and unfocused light. I wish I could pull you out… but I can’t.

Now that I’m older, I hear people using words like “retarded,” “cripple,” and “moron,” and it breaks my heart. It hurts that others do not understand how hurtful their words are, even if they don’t say them directly to those with special needs. It makes me mad that, time and time again, people who have a loved one with special needs try to educate these clueless nimrods and these people go and say we’re stupid. When I hear someone use these words, regardless of what they actually mean, I think of you. To them, you are a retard. And I cry. Because those people are cruel.

If my classmates could meet you, I know they would understand. I know it! But they can’t meet you.

You can be annoying, sure. I mean, you break my stuff, shriek at the top of your lungs, and mess up the computer.

When you have seizures and have to go to the hospital, it scares me. I hate that you have to experience that, even though I know you’re lucky you don’t have them as often as some kids do.

What I’m trying to say, Alex, is that I’m so proud to be your sister. I’m proud of all you have accomplished, and what you will accomplish.

Thank you for being there for me, a constant confidant, when I couldn’t tell anyone else. Thank you for your hugs, thank you for telling me you love me, thank you for all the morals you have taught me.

You’re beautiful.

Love you forever, Like you for always,

Kathryn

~Kathryn Malnight

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