The Best Big Brother

My son Xander has always been an amazing kid, above average in every way, but he goes above and beyond as a big brother.

He wanted a little sister more than anything. He actually asked Santa!

When we told him we were pregnant he was over the moon. He wanted a book that took him week by week thru the pregnancy and he read it more than once.

He helped choose her name, he picked clothes and helped us set up her nursery.

My favorite memory is at night he would put his headphones on my belly so the baby could hear his favorite songs. He also talked to her all the time.

She was born healthy and he was the first visitor (he tried to be in the delivery room but a c section derailed that plan).

He spent all his free time with her, reading to her, playing with her, talking to her. It melted our hearts.

He took pictures into school for show and tell and when we decided to homeschool, his favorite part was being with her all day.

And then, Autism.

The word terrified me. It worried my wife but didn’t phase Xander.

Gracie was still his sister and that was that. While we immersed ourselves in books, articles, blogs and documentaries, he studied her. While we learned all about autism, he lived it with her.

When she couldn’t talk, he learned to sign.

When she started to speak, he listened carefully and encouraged every word. To this day he understands more of her words than we do.

He waits patiently when its time to leave the house. Leaving the house is the hardest part of Gracie’s day and he knows it.

He’s always ready on time, she needs to change her socks again.

He never hesitates to help dress Butterfly (her stuffed bear), find her backpack and sunglasses or help me get it all into the car.

He has never complained about missing out. And we miss out a lot sometimes.

We don’t go on vacations, we rarely stay somewhere over night and we’ve missed out on events he would have loved. He. Never. Complains.

He recognizes when her anxiety has gotten to be too much and its time to leave, often before we do.

He has always left without a fight, usually helping us along the way.

He knows her favorite food, her favorite chewie and her favorite show. No one made him learn this stuff, he chose to on his own. Because he loves her.

He includes her in as much as he can. Teaching her to play video games, hanging with his friends at the pool, showing her all the cool things kids like.

He always let her try everything and shows more patience than I will ever be able to. He believes she is capable of anything and maybe he’s right.

He has taken 2nd position or backseat to his sister a lot over the years and never once has he acted like we love him less.

He knows she needs us more, himself included and he always steps in and helps.

Some days, when autism is too much for us, it still isn’t for him.

He keeps on big brothering even when we are barely able to parent. I’ve never heard him get truly angry with her and he never leaves without a hug and kiss goodbye even though he stopped with us years ago.

He didn’t ask for a sister with autism but when he got one, he didn’t care. He loves her the exact same.

He never shows resentment or anger towards her. Just patience, acceptance, understanding and love.

“He is the best big brother” -Direct quote from Gracie. We couldn’t agree more, little girl, we couldn’t agree more.

Written by, Noelle Lee 

My name is Noelle, I’m a stay at home, homeschooling mom of 2 amazing kids, a 15yr old typical boy and a 7yr old autistic girl. I am married to my best friend and enjoy spending my free time watching YouTube, playing with my pets and collecting too many school supplies. My instagram is @live_love_learn_stim

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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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