Dear Sawyer

Dear Sawyer,

You are seven and I am writing down the stories I want to share with you when you are a grown man. So you know about our secret world.

Last night I went to your bedroom to tuck you in but you weren’t there.

So, I made my way to your older brother Cooper’s room and saw you holding him. It brought tears to my eyes. The protective way you were holding him was beautiful.

He’s been driving you bonkers lately. He has this desire to be near you. He chases you around. He steals your blanket. He knocks down your forts and busts up your Legos.

You may be two years younger, but in so many ways you are the older brother.

You hold his hand in parking lots. Buckle his seatbelt when he needs help.

He loves you kid. He just doesn’t know how to show you yet. But he will someday. I know it.

You don’t understand any of this now, but you will. When you are older.

The questions you have asked me over the years about autism have been heartbreaking and amazing at the same time.

You’ve asked if he’s going to get better. If he will talk someday.

You’ve asked why him. Why he has autism and you don’t. You’ve even asked if you can have it too.

You’ve asked who will care for him when mommy and daddy are gone.

You’ve asked if you will ever get to be an Uncle.

Your questions are encouraged. We talk about autism in this home. We celebrate differences. We speak out and up. We focus on kindness.

And we give grace during growth.

In kindergarten you drew our family photo without Cooper. I cried buddy. I felt so sad and worried that I was failing.

In second grade, you told your class all about autism and your brother. You hug him in the hallway. You befriend the kids who need more.

I will give you grace as you grow my son.

Today, for the first time in your life, you and your older brother will be eating lunch in the same cafeteria at school.

I’ve worried every possible worry Sawyer. The ‘what-if’s’ rolling through my mind.

I want you to know my worries are not so much about your brother. He will be fine because he has adults who will care for him.

I worry about you. I worry that you will feel the need to be the big brother if Cooper suddenly has a hard time.

I know you will step in. I know you will attempt to talk him through his struggles like mom does.

Holding him. Whispering in his ear. Shielding the stares of your classmates.

Because you are brave. And the best brother ever.

But you are a kid. And I want you to feel no responsibility or pressure.

I’m sitting here patiently waiting for an update from school.

I guess when you are older, a man and taller than me, I want you to know how much I appreciate you being the best brother. And that you don’t see any of it as a burden.

Thank you sweet boy for being with him when I cannot. And being his protector.

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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