The day they met...
3 years ago...
While we were at lunch today, Abbey told me a story about an encounter with a boy in class the other day. There is a girl in her class that has a lisp. A boy was making fun of her, mocking her lisp. When Abbey stands up and says, "hey! how would you like it if we all started making fun of you for something you couldn't help?!...we can't make fun of people just because they're different than us!". The whole class got in trouble for making a commotion, so afterwords, Abbey went up to her teacher to explain. "I'm sorry if I was the one causing trouble, but I wasn't going to let that boy make fun of her because of her lisp, by brother is disabled, and I would never want anyone to make fun of him.".
Oh my sobbing heart! I had to bite the inside of my mouth, take a drink and try to keep the tears inside. (We were out at her favorite pizza place.) There were a million emotions flooding me at once. Pride in her for sticking up for another kid. Astonishment at her courage to stand up toa bully in a new school where she is still trying to make new friends. Encouragement that in the little amount of time we have her with us (she lives in another state with her mom), her brother is teaching her something about the way to encounter these situations.
She loves her little brother with such a fierceness. She is so protective of him. She's not overprotective, but will set anyone straight that says something ugly about him. And that is carrying over into other parts of her life. She was so indignant this summer talking about how some things aren't covered by insurance, and how expensive they are. (We were talking about a wheelchair accessible vehicle.) She got all red in the face, and said..."well how ELSE are we supposed to be able to be like a normal family?!". Indeed.
She says the things out loud about her brother that we've kept inside. When she was younger, she often said things like, "I wish I had a brother who could play with me...or I wish I could teach him to walk, or talk, or play games.". All the things we wanted too...but aren't "supposed" to say about your disabled child.
This latest trip we had to get our flu vaccines. We told her that as soon as it's available, she will have to get the H1N1 vaccine too. And it will likely be 2 more shots. She hates shots. Sometimes they make her cry...even being 11. Even after telling herself, and us, Max gets a shot EVERY DAY! Because shots hurt. And nobody likes getting shots. But after the "ugh" moment passed she said, "well, I love my brother a whole lot more than a hate shots. And I don't want him to get sick. And I HAVE to be able to come see him all year long.".
She's growing up...getting to be so insightful. And such a great advocate for her brother. I'm inspired by her love for him, and how it's taught her to love and stand up for all people. What a gift. We're all lucky that she's ours.
You must be so proud! I only hope my kids will grow to be just as wonderful advocates for their sister (and themselves!)!
Deana, that is the most beautiful, amazing, insightful story. I am so very proud of the "big sister" and she and Max are so lucky to have eachother.
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