There is an unspoken expectation of siblings who have a 'special' child in their home.
Yes Ethan is my first born.But, Ethan has never development past the age of 5;he has now regressed back to the age of 2.5 years (mentally) even though he is 13.
The back talking...
The lack of talking...
The list goes on...
My hat goes off to you, the parents who decided four plus children would be 'ideal'--wow (worth mentioning I have 6 siblings, well done mammy and daddy!)
"Ah J must be great with Ethan", which is said to me quite often, especially in front of J. I know it is a compliment. I know it is a way to acknowledge that J is 'special ' too- I have a sibling who has Down Syndrome, all these sentences and more were said to me as a child too.
And I remember. I remember how those words fell on my young ears as I got patted on the head for being a good sister.
That's what I felt as a child. I'd listen to an uncle, aunt or neighbour praise me and I'd remember that I had fought with my brother earlier in the day, how I had pushed him...told him to go away and leave my toys alone. I would burn with the shame. I'd scold myself for being mean to a 'special' boy and that maybe God would see me and put a black mark on my soul--(that idea was pushed into my head by an elderly neighbour; who was very very religious..when I eventually told my mammy that my soul could be blackened because I wasn't always good, she marched right over to his house-and as the saying goes, that was the end of that nonsense) But it wasn't, not really, I continued to believe that if I was in anyway nasty to my brother for whatever reason that people would know and they would see my blackened soul. I kept that thought right up until I was in my teenage years.
"It is the truth. You're allowed get annoyed, that doesn't make you a bad brother, you're a great brother buddy." I gave him a gentle squeeze.
There. That sentence told me he did feel the pressure from the outside world to be the 'perfect' sibling.
"J, you can only be a kid once. Ethan is hard work. He would test the patience of a saint. I have had to learn to be patient with him. And I'm an adult!" I laughed,"It is perfectly fine to get annoyed"
"Oh good mam, 'cos sometimes he really really annoys me" he wasn't holding back.
I smiled, "I know...you know he doesn't mean to, but I do know that doesn't make it any easier on you".
"I know. The poor thing. .." he sighed "I guess I'll just leave when he starts, ya know the meltdowns and stuff"
"That's a good idea. You'll have to be fast" I laughed.
"Mam, I KNOW Ethan, he is MY brother! HELLO,like" he rolled his eyes at me.
"Alright, alright" I nodded, pretending his 'like' at the end of his sentence didn't annoy the c**p out of me.
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