Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Typical Brother

Sometimes I get sucked into worrying about the typical sib in our family and yes, there are concerns, but today I call BS on my unnecessary fretting about him.

He has the benefit of being adored by his older sister. He's never been a "pain" in her neck. She has loved him since the day he was born and has never teased him or been jealous of him or put him down in any way. Recently he broke out into his Michael Jackson moves at a social dance. A crowd gathered round, admiring his dancing, and he was in the zone. She'd been encouraging him for just such a moment for years.

"Seth, you should enter a talent contest!" she's said to him many times when he's practiced "the moves" at home.

If I had attempted such behavior as a kid, my sibs would have ripped me to shreds with teasing. I'd never have been so brave. His confidence is largely because of her.

He gets to be homeschooled, because we're homeschooling his sister anyway, and he is thriving in this environment. He has so much freedom to be creative and to play. He never would have had the opportunity to learn at home if not for his sister's needing to be here.

I can look at it like he gets "dragged" to all her therapies, or I can admit we have the best one-on-ones while she is in there working. We've read so many books together and taken many a walk this way. He even sometimes gets to be the "typical" volunteer, benefiting from all kinds of enrichment.

His life is different having a sister on the autism spectrum, and different comes with certain challenges, but it isn't worse. It's different. It's full of opportunities. It's being open to all kinds of people, and giving people the benefit of the doubt. It's being appreciated for who he is, it's loving and being loved deeply.

It's going to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on a Friday while everyone else is at school. It's learning two-on-one with a science tutor at your kitchen table. It's having your Dad beam with pride as he teaches you math. It's writing stories with your mom and your sister. It's oil painting. It's dancing your heart out and not caring who sees.

It's rich.

And yes, it's not about him when sometimes it should be. But the good? It really deserves to be celebrated.




  1. :) I don't know how to make this smile any wider.

  2. "different comes with certain challenges, but it isn't worse" - I love how you put this. And it's definitely rich. I couldn't agree more! xo

  3. It's so nice to read something this positive about the sibling relationship. Beautiful!

  4. Such a lovely post. I often joke that my older typically developing daughter will have the best self-confidence in the world because her little sister just laughs at everything she does and loves to watch all her shows and is her biggest fan. That is just one of the many positive things about their relationship. Glad to see others express this same gift.