The Night My Boys Became Brothers

I have two sons, Cooper is six and Sawyer is four. They are both blonde, adorable, strong-willed, and funny. They are both obsessed with their mama. They are loud. They are both snugglers. They have been brothers since Cooper was almost two. And yet, it wasn’t until recently that they even began acknowledging each other.

Yes, it broke my heart for years. There are days when it still does. I can almost picture what my life would be like if my boys were able to play each other. If I close my eyes I can see them biking, running, and playing Nerf Guns. And yet, it’s never happened.

I always pictured myself with lots of kids. I thought for sure I’d have three or four. And then my little tornado Cooper was born and before I knew it I was the mama to an Autistic child. And everything changed. My time was occupied with therapies, finding doctors and treatments, researching and fighting insurance companies. My life wasn’t blissful parenting anymore. It was different.

And Then There Were Two

When I was pregnant with Sawyer I was asked by fellow mamas and friends if Cooper was excited to meet his new baby brother. I remember thinking…he has no idea. I would see other kids the same age kiss their moms belly and rock a doll in preparation for their new sibling. My son had no idea. I found comfort by telling myself…’oh, he’s a boy. Boy’s don’t care.’ I was scared though.

I remember Jamie brought Cooper to the hospital to meet his baby brother and Cooper refused to even acknowledge me or him. He chased a balloon instead. My fear intensified.

Brotherly Love

By the time Sawyer could sit-up and crawl he was in love with his older brother. He followed him every where. And it was like Cooper never even noticed him. There was no acknowledgement.

A year or so ago I saw how much Sawyer wanted to play with his brother…and at that time…I knew it wasn’t going to happen. And almost overnight, Sawyer seemed to forget about his brother too. It was heartbreaking. Here is a letter I wrote to Sawyer when he turned four. I know he won’t read it until he’s older…and that’s okay. I just need him to know how love he is and how thankful I am for him.

A Breakthrough

Then last night something beautiful happened. Sawyer asked his brother if he could watch a movie with him in his room. I think he was trying to avoid going to bed…but I was still excited. I thought, I’m going to let this happen. Even though I knew it would probably crash and burn.

Cooper can’t lay still. He tries. He really does. But I think the pressure of it gets to be too much and he starts wiggling, rolling, wrapping himself up in blankets, etc. It’s a very frustrating behavior for Sawyer to deal with. I get it. I see it. He tries to play with his brother or even sit by his brother and Cooper is immediately pushing on him and knocking him down.

But, tonight seemed different. Both boys were calm. And we’d been having some  huge wins lately. So, I snuggled them up in Cooper’s bed, side-by-side, put a movie on, shut the light off, and closed the door. And waited. And waited.


After 20 minutes or so, Sawyer walked out and said: ‘Mama, I have a secret for you. Can I tell you a whisper? Cooper and I are becoming brothers. He’s finally starting to love me. And now I love him too.’

Excuse me while I sob like a baby!! Six months ago I had a six year old and a four year old who never acknowledged each other. They never interacted. And yes, it ate me up. Moments like this one make the wait completely worth it. That sentence was the most beautiful, honest thing that has ever been said to me. Both of my boys are amazing.

Of course I spammed them for a bunch of pictures. That’s what moms do. I want to remember every thing about the night my boys became brothers.


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  • Jill

    July 17, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Beyond thrilled for you all! Amen

  • L

    July 23, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Sawyer's words brought tears to my eyes. Out of the mouth of babes!!

  • Irma

    July 24, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    This is exactly what I'm going through with my girls, 4 & 2 yrs old . My older one is autistic and she barely started […] Read MoreThis is exactly what I'm going through with my girls, 4 & 2 yrs old . My older one is autistic and she barely started playing with her little sister. They fight all the time, but are always by eachohters side❤️ you took me back to the days my little girl would follow her big sister around the house trying to play with her and she would just get ignored :( That would break my heart or when she would hit her for no reason whatsoever, then what makes it worse was not being able to explain it to her because she's so young . I'm just glad we're passed that now. Read Less

  • Samantha

    August 2, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Oh my goodness, I am sobbing reading this! My four-year-old has fragile X syndrome, without autism. My 16-month-old son adores his big brother […] Read MoreOh my goodness, I am sobbing reading this! My four-year-old has fragile X syndrome, without autism. My 16-month-old son adores his big brother as well. I can only imagine The absolute preciousness of this moment. you are an inspiration, and it gives me hope that our boys can achieve anything, just in their own time. Read Less

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About Me

Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!


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When my son was first diagnosed with autism no one was talking about it. Autism was hidden. I vow to change that.

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