You’re her person, Grace. More than me, or daddy, or anyone else, you are her person for the rest of your lives. I don’t say that like it’s some sort of a sentence to carry out, or a chore. I know you love that little blonde tornado as much as we do. I simply say it, to remind you that even though it is tough right now, there will come a time when you can’t imagine life without her. And I want you to know, she already feels that way about you.
It’s probably hard to imagine that right now. Your little eight year old self has enough to deal with at the moment. School has become so important for you. Your life outside of this house is beginning to take hold and for that I am happy for you. It’s good and healthy for you to have that separation from us. Well, at least as far as you can, what with your little sister and her giant service dog practical celebrities at your school. You don’t mind that, though, do you? You get a little kick out of the attention she basks in, the kind of attention you would never want for yourself, but love to see your sister enjoy.
I know you’ve been feeling frustrated with her lately. She can be pretty demanding and impossibly unreasonably, at times. We don’t expect you to see past these behaviors, nor do we allow your sister a free pass, but we do hope you can find that patience inside of you, the one you were born with, the one reserved specifically for the siblings of children with autism or down syndrome or any number of things. A patience that many adults could hardly muster. A patience that makes you so very special.
I’m sure you see everyone worrying about your sister all of the time. Will she ever expand her diet? Will she stop befriending strangers? Will she learn about taking turns and losing and compromise, someday? Will she ever understand all of those things that come so naturally to us? I wonder what that does to you. Do you feel left out? Envious? Afraid? I hope you feel none of those things.
I know you worry about her, too. Will she make friends? Will she ever learn to be afraid?
But, you know what, kid? I worry about you. I worry about you because you’ve been given a task unlike most kids your age. You’ve been asked to exhibit more than just that uncommon patience and endless kindness. You’ve got to be her person. Not just her big sister. Not even just her best friend. You’ve got to never leave her. No matter where in the world you decide to settle, and you’ll have your choice because you’re such a smart little thing, you’ll be thinking about how it will affect your sister. We know she is capable of so much, but will she be okay without you by her side, translating everything that is so confusing for her? I know it weighs on you. I wish it didn’t.
These thoughts are edging their way into your mind already, but I promise you it will be okay. Daddy and I will be there as long as we can, and when someday, it’s just you and her, you’ll be everything she needs and more because you already are.
I just want you to know that I worry about you, Grace. But more than that, I love you and I’ll love you forever and ever.
of our favourite people have suggested we offer an address for people to send Grace letters of encouragement. I think shining a little light on her for a change is a wonderful idea. If you can offer some advice, words of wisdom or just a kind word, this little doll would be thrilled.
27 Wellington Row
Saint John, NB