Special needs parenting

The photo that broke me

Well, here it is… The moment I thought would break me.

Since before he was born, I knew Reece was going to ‘overtake’ Ella at some point. I did kind of think it would happen all at once, but to be honest it wasn’t like that at all. No lightbulb moment, just gradual things.

He did everything ‘earlier’ than Ella. He sat up, crawled, walked at an earlier age than Ella, which I obviously expected.
But the real fear? Was when he, 7 years her junior, would do things that she couldn’t yet.

Given Ella’s Cri Du Chat, I knew that there would come a point that Reece was doing things that Ella might never do. I thought that I would be sad, sad for the things Ella is missing out on, and sad for the extra that Reece was born into. Sad that Reece wouldn’t have that big sister cheering him on.

It started when he was less than a year old. At 6 months he started signing, and not long after WORDS! His language has always fascinated me. He chatters, and talks and I could listen to it all damn day. I’ve written about their differences before Here nearly 2 years ago.
I’ve listened to Reece question why Ella can’t talk, why Ella is different, Why Ella doesn’t do things he can do.
Every question gave me a little sadness, but also joy. Joy that Reece is recognising these differences. Joy that he’s trying to understand. Joy That He’s becoming such an epathetic little man.
He went from questions, to trying to help Ella. He explains things to her with an innocence that only a child can have, He talks for her when she doesn’t have the words in a way that only he can understand. When she’s in the midst of a meltdown, He’s the one that brings her out – as only a brother can. I’ve walked in on Reece ‘reading’ to Ella, When questioned, he told me
“I’m teaching Ella to talk”
And I melted. Disability aside – I can’t I can’t even explain it in words how fucking sweet it is to see one child help another. Their bond is indescribable and so heartwarming to be a part of.
and now? Reece has recently learnt buttons. He can undo, and do up buttons. And that alone is amazing to me. But only 2 days after he learnt? He was trying to teach Ella how to do hers. and it hit me.

This is it…. this is the moment… He’s overtaken his 7 year older sister physically, mentally, verbally.
And instead of feeling sad, my heart swelled with pride! Not only has he realised he can do something she can’t, but he’s trying to help and teach Ella!

You see, I was so focused on all the things I’d perceived them to be missing out on, that I had missed all of the things they’d gained! They have a bond like no other. They still fight like any other sibling, but they also have this amazing connection that I’ve never seen before.

So even though I was so worried about having a baby after a child with a disability, How that would impact that child – what I’ve done is bring a child into this world that is empathetic, understanding and loving towards those that are different to him – and that’s not scary at all.

It’s fucking beautiful.

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