My Big Sister announcement :)Dear Brinley,
In the past year and a half, life has been busy. We found out about your sister's diagnosis when mommy was 15 weeks pregnant. We focused on making sure that Adele arrived safely and that while she was growing inside of mommy, she was healthy. We had lots of appointments to make sure that sister's heart was beating properly and that she had no other health concerns. It was a time where mommy and daddy were trying to balance having a baby and taking care of a baby all at the same time. You were always such a good girl.
When you were around 16 months old, our town flooded and we had to go live with Grandma and Grandpa for three months, then your sister was born one month later. Mommy and daddy were so busy worrying about the house and your sister, that sometimes, you didn't get the love and attention that you deserved.
Part of me wants to apologize that you have a sister with special needs. Part of me worries that this will be difficult on you when you are older. Part of me just feels bad. It won't always be an easy journey for you and you will have to stand by your sister and be there for her when she needs you. You may not always want this role, but we need for you to help guide your sister and encourage her to be the best that she can be. Is this asking too much? I don't know, but the journey that we are on will come with some added bumps and maybe a few more mountains that need to be climbed. We need to work together. We need to support one another. Mommy and daddy will always be there for both of you. We will always advocate for you and we will help you reach your full potential. There are no limits.
I worry that when you are teenagers, you won't connect and that you will have different interests. I worry that you won't want to confide in your sister about boys or a crush that you have because you will feel that she won't understand, that she just won't get it.
I worry that you will feel excluded. I worry that you will wish for a sister who didn't have special needs. You will wish for a sister that doesn't have Down syndrome.
I've thought about this many times. I think about the future a lot, although mommy should live in the present and focus on each day rather on what lies ahead. It's tough.
On the other hand, I remember the first time that you met Adele. I remember, you were not even 17 months old and you couldn't wait to hold her. I would put a pillow on your lap and you would touch your sister and hold her hand. You would actually hold her hand. It was so beautiful. I remember taking you to the NICU almost every day and you would sit by your sister's bassinet for hours, you were such a good girl.
I remember bringing Adele home and you were waiting at the front door at Grandma and Grandpa's house. You were so excited. You wanted to feed your sister a bottle and you wanted to snuggle her on the couch. You were so in love.
I watch you when other people come up to Adele and you give them the stare down, you let them know that she is your sister and that they better handle her with care. They also only have a limited time to hold her. You make everybody aware that you are the bigger and older sister and you make the rules when it comes to Adele.
I watch you at home with Adele and how you bring her toys so that she can play. I watch you take her face in your hands and you look deep into her eyes, right down to her soul. You are letting Adele know that everything will be alright. I sometimes wonder if you know that things are a little different.
I watch you kiss her. I watch how you touch her. I watch how you interact with her. I watch how you show her love in so many ways. A love that I have never seen before with other siblings. It's a love that is so deep and so intense.
Every single morning, when you wake up, the very first thing that you say is "Adele" and you run to her crib. You look in and say "hi", it is the sweetest sight. When Adele goes down for a nap, I see that you miss her and you point out her toys to mommy and you talk about her, you talk about her little nose and her eyes and her tummy. You show just how much you love your sister, in so many different ways.
I worry about the future Brinley. I worry about the bond that you and your sister will have years down the road, but what I see now, is this little girl who loves her sister, unconditionally.
Your sister is going to teach this world so much. She is going to teach you to slow down. She is going to teach you that beauty comes in all different forms. She is going to teach you to laugh when you don't feel like laughing. She is going to be your best friend. She is your sister.
I love you Brinley to the moon and back. I love you for who you are and for the little girl that you are becoming. You, my sweet girl have made this world a better place. You have shown me a love where there is no judgement. It is a pure love. A love that is innocent.
Let's travel this journey together.