February 17, 2010

Shedding Some Light On Our Future

Sometimes I wonder how having a sibling like Carter will affect Mikey and Jovie.  I think that it's a worry that most special needs parents have.

At first, I was very concerned about how much they would miss out on with having a brother with limitations.  In the VERY beginning, I started thinking that there would be no way that we could go on a family vacation, or that we would miss out on fun things because of Carter. I know that these things are unrealistic, but I have to admit that it was something I would think about. How would Carter affect them?

I sat down with a friend who assured me that those things would still happen, and that my kids were definitely going to be better people for it (thank you Gretchen for that conversation). She even told me that she was thankful that her kids would be able to grow up knowing Carter.

It's true that we haven't done too many things this Winter while we're trying to keep Carter healthy, but we've still had a lot of family fun. I now know that having a child with disablities is a new kind of normal and we're still going to be able to do all of those things that a "normal" family does. I honestly don't worry about it any more, although there may come a time when I do again.

These thoughts came into my mind again this week while we were watching the Olympics. Of course, I'm talking about Alex Bilodeau.  Who is Alex Bilodeau?  If you don't know, I'll happily fill you in.

Alex Bilodeau is a men's Moguls skier who recently won the first gold medal for Canada on home soil.  The reason why I'm drawn to his story is that he has an older brother who has Cerebral Palsy.  There are so many interviews, and so many quotes about how having an older brother with a disability affected his life so it was hard to choose just one:

"I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have the same perseverance if I didn't grow up with him," said the 22-year-old from Montreal. "I'm someone who never quits, even in training. I'm going to fight until the last moment, until I crash really bad."

"In training, it's just like competition and I'm fighting until I can't go any more and until I'm on one ski or something. Even then, I try to pull it back. I grew up with the mentality, `If my brother would have that chance, would he take it? Would he try more?' I always – I always – come to that same answer and it's, `Yes, he would try more.' That's why I can do it."

"He wakes up in the morning and he's got that big smile; he goes to bed and he's got that big smile," Alex said. "And you look at him, and he's got all the right to complain. How many times do we complain in a day? I don't even think I can count mine. That's when you put everything in perspective and you say I should just shut up and swallow and go train."

"My brother is my inspiration," Alex said that night on TV, tears welling. "He taught me so many things in my life."


I can only hope that Carter can give the same inspiration to Mikey and Jovie.

But you know what?

I don't need to hope, because I know that it's already there.  I can see it when they look at him.  I can see their compassion growing. All I can do is thank God for giving us this wonderful gift.


Stephanie said...

Love this post and you are so right! It is already there! <3

Lacey said...

Every parent goes through this when they have a special needs baby. But as you can already see, its not as horrible as you imagine. In the last 4 years my boys have become the most compasionate people I know! And I make sure to keep their lives as normal as possible, which means taking as many trips as we did before, and Jax always comes! Even though packing for him is like packing for a year away from home. Its all worth it!

Colleen said...

From the very beginning I was worried about how Autumn would handle having a special needs brother. I can already see that she is a compassionate, accepting and caring person and will be as she grows up! It's definitely a gift!

Kelli said...

Wow...what a beautiful post.

cutiepiescustomcreations said...

What a great post! And your friend is very wise--I have seen how compassionate students are who have siblings w/special needs. You can see the love in those valentines pics too!!!

Queen Bee said...

What an awesome post. And its obvious in the photos you share how wonderful your other kids are with Carter. They will be special just like he is!