A Letter to my Firstborn

I guess you don’t remember when it was just you and me. A time before having a sibling to share the attention that you so desperately craved.

We had two years alone together, you and I.

We would read endless books together because it was your favorite thing to do.

We would go for walks, to playgrounds, to play places, to restaurants. We were out in the world and we loved exploring it.

I would marvel at each new thing that you learned.

I would watch with a heart full to bursting at the joy you would find in the smallest of things, like laying in the grass and staring into the sky while we excitedly pointed out what animals we saw in the clouds.

Now you’re eight. You have to share me.

Wait, that’s not true. You do more than share me— you’ve given up a large part of your share because your younger brother has autism and requires a lot more than a typical child.

You still have that same love for reading, but you no longer ask me to read to you. You know that I can’t.

You still have the biggest imagination in the world, but you no longer invite me to play. You know that I’m not able to.

You still look for animals in the sky but you no longer turn your head to smile at me because you know that I’m not there.

You no longer look for me at the playground because you know that I’m not nearby. You know without looking that I’m following your brother back and forth as he walks the perimeter or tries to find an exit.

I don’t know when you gave up on me. I don’t know at what moment you truly learned that I’m not there.

I don’t know when you grew up so fast and learned to care for yourself. But it happened. And it breaks my heart into tiny pieces.

I’ve missed out on so much of your childhood despite how badly I wanted and tried to experience it with you.

Now all that I can do is wave to you from across the playground as you play and I chase your bother.

I watch you grab book after book and read quietly to yourself as I work incessantly on improving your bothers behaviors.

I wish you could know how badly I want to be by your side. I want to watch you grow up slowly.

I don’t have much time left before you shift from child to teenager.

I don’t know how time has flown by so fast, but I’d give anything to at least slow it down. I want to be present. I want to be by your side.

And although it doesn’t look or feel like it, I want you to know that I truly am always there with you.

I see you, even if from a distance. I see your smile as you play with your friends. I see your natural curiosity and excitement over animals, nature, and learning.

I am experiencing these things with you, just not in a traditional way.

Our lives look different than others, but I thank the heavens every day that I’m lucky enough to be your mommy.

You’re the best sister and daughter in the world. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

We are both learning about this autism life together, you and I.

I just pray that you remember that I was always there, even when it felt like I was not.

Written by, Kelly Judson

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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 our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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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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