Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Siblings...part 6?

A few months back I worked on a series of posts about siblings of children with disabilities. It isn't uncommon for people to ask us or our older children for any words of wisdom regarding raising with/growing up as such siblings. It always makes me a little nervous because no two kids are alike and no two families are alike, yet I understand wanting to glean anything from someone who has traveled a similar path.

Recently my middle daughter was assigned an essay to write reflecting on something that happened repeatedly in her life. I asked her to let me read it sometime. She left the essay on my pillow a few nights ago. It was perfect timing...I TOTALLY needed that laugh! She gave me permission to share it as I think it proves that each child has their own unique perception AND times that feel like such  failure can be used by God to mold our typical children into the persons He can use for His plans.

Enjoy. I hope you can enjoy a laugh and some encouragement:

Becoming a Hero
            It always starts with a crash; then comes the screeching; my heart drops to my feet as I make the mad-dash to the sound. I never have to guess who has fallen because there always seems to be one lucky winner: my younger, handicapped sister Candace. Perhaps she is not the winner though; it is me. I get to be the savior; I get to be the greatest sister on the planet; I get to be the hero swooping in comforting and protecting the helpless.
            The first time I got to be the hero was at the age of six when playing was an everyday occurrence. Nothing really mattered, and the word anxiety was Greek to my childhood self. This day was one of those careless days; although, it was a bit more exciting because the cool, older cousins were over for the day.
            After pondering for hours, we all decided that the best way to spend our day was to place the two toddler girls, who could not walk, into the amazing, red, Radio Flyer wagon. The only problem with this seemingly awesome pastime was that going in a circle, making only left turns, for two hours could get monotonous, so we picked up the speed. As we cheered my cousin on in his own version of NASCAR, speed was exponentially gained.  One wheel skidded off the ground; then, the second. The Radio Flyer was actually flying, but not in an amazing NASA kind of way.
            Crash. Blood curdling screams. My little six-year-old heart fell as I watched both of my precious, 

baby sisters smack the rock-hard pavement. The world was frozen in what they call an out-of-body   

experience. As my mind prepared for what to do next, I found myself alone.  
Everyone had deserted the scene in fear of the pain, the first drop of red, gooey blood. I reached inside, and found the EMT, the hero. Brielle does not run. She does not leave the helpless.
            I scurried as fast as my little legs could move me over to the wagon. As I tried to successfully pick up Candace and Ciara at the same time, the voice of a policeman boomed, "Is everything okay?" He was a hero in my eyes. His occupation was to save people; I wanted to save people. As he helped me scoop up the two, little blond girls I felt star-struck; I knew what I wanted to be as an adult: a police officer.

            The next time I heard the crash and screaming was on a sidewalk in the middle of Washington D.C. The trees were lined with fresh, pink flowers floating to the ground. As I gazed at the beauty, my mother
tripped on the curb of the sidewalk. The next thing I knew, the baby was flying like the Radio Flyer over my mother's back The flowers were not the only things falling on that fine spring day. While the backpack baby carrier came within an inch of the ground, Candace's face was not so fortunate. She managed to complete her second, violent nose-dive within the first three years of her life; quite an accomplishment. 
Within five seconds, I found myself all alone again. My "brave," older sister had ran in the opposite direction. My father went after her -- a nine-year-old girl cannot run the streets of the country's capitol alone. My mother and I stood on the bloodstained sidewalk in complete shock. What to do? The first group of potential help came along: a Chinese family that spoke next to no English. As southern women say, "Bless their hearts." This family was of no help and provided more chaos instead of assistance. My mother's eyes caught the sight of an ambulance down the road, and she yelled for help.
            "Baby down. Baby down," was radioed in from the superheroes wearing black shirts and pants. As

the men and women took my mother and little sister in the mysterious van with sirens 

to the hospital, I followed behind moving faster than my father did when we were late for church. I immediately fell in love. Adrenaline. It is when your heart pumps fast, and you are ready to do whatever it takes to save the helpless. I changed my mind; I knew what I wanted to be: an EMT.
            The next chance I received at pursuing my new found dream was sheer disappointment. Once again, I was with the cool cousins; although, we did not get to play outside this time. It was nighttime, so we resorted to computer games in the cold, cement basement. My family was extremely creative in that we invented whatever we did not have, including a highchair for Candace to sit in. Our invention consisted of a wooden kitchen chair with a toddler's seat on top. Candace could be buckled into the toddler's seat, but the toddler's seat could not be connected to the kitchen chair.
Candace was a typically curious, hands-on child. She may have a disability, but that has never stopped her. As she reached for the mouse, the highchair creation failed. The strap was not an option; it was a necessity. The toddler seat, with Candace tied in it, fell to the ground. Crash. Screech. Candace managed her third, violent nose-dive within four years of life. Instantly, a bubble came to life on her forehead. It was not just a lump but rather a large egg trying to push through the skin above her eye.
            My parents were immediately called, and date night was terminated. I comforted my "baby girl" as 

looks of horror entered through the side door on the faces of my parents. Candace  was immediately

whisked away to the emergency room. My mom's thoughts were on that of judgment; The doctors would 

think the worst: child abuse. My thoughts, on the other hand, were of anticipation. I desired to be in the car

with my mom and little sister. I did not care if she was heaving mouthfuls of blood all over the car seats. I 

wanted to spend whatever time I could in the hospital watching the doctors go about their work. They had vast amounts of knowledge on how to heal; they could do what most of us cannot: end suffering and save a life.
  In middle school, I was told that I was a "glass child." A sibling of a brother or sister with disability knows what I mean; all the attention is on the child with disability. I am considered like clear glass: there but not really seen. Every time I hear this term, I get agitated; I cannot be labeled by such a negative connotation. So what, the psychologists think I am fragile? The unlucky one? I am not. Do not get me wrong; I do not like to see my little sister in pain, but when Candace falls to the ground, I get to save her; I get to be the hero; I get to help the helpless and find who I am in the process. 


  1. What an excellent article. Thanks, Brielle, for sharing your heart. You will make an excellent doctor someday - one with great compassion. :)

  2. Outstanding job, Brielle! This was so well written and descriptive. I hope your teacher rewarded you with an A+. I wish all children with a disability had a loving sister like you! Follow your dreams for your future job to help others!