He Gets Different and More

Sawyer, my eight year old, is the sweetest older brother. He holds his sister, he kisses her every morning, before bed, and when he leaves the house.

He counted down the days until she got here. He asked me all the questions, like how she got in there and how she was going to come out. He was fascinated by her belly button and her blonde hair.

He loves being a brother. And as we’ve completed our family of six, I’ve spent some time thinking about how different life would have been for Sawyer if his older brother would have felt this way about him.

My oldest son Cooper was two years old when we brought Sawyer home from the hospital.

I was worried and scared and a whole lot other emotions.

Cooper didn’t understand that there was a baby brother in my tummy. Or maybe he did and just didn’t acknowledge it. Either way, there was no excitement from him. Our biggest worry was aggression. And regression.

He had no words and as his mom I felt like I was chasing a diagnosis. I knew it was autism. But it wasn’t a simple thing to figure out.

Getting appointments was a challenge. The waiting lists were never ending. We spent our time going to therapy and doing testing with the school district.

We learned about self injuring, nonverbal, anxiety, eloping. Our world was different.

And then we had another baby.

When we set the car seat down in the living room for the first time I remember thinking…moment of truth.

This was going to go really well or really bad. Or maybe he would surprise me. Cooper barely have a glance into the car seat.

It took Cooper two years to acknowledge his brother. There were no snuggles. No touching or holding. No photos of the two of them.

It was what it was I guess.

I like to talk about these parts of sibling life because it can feel hard and sad and scary and worrisome a lot of the time. And most people outside of our world have no idea.

It’s gotten better. So have hope. Sawyer and Cooper sleep together every night…by choice. They ask for each other, almost as if they are checking in on each other. They keep tabs. They keep an eye out.

Sawyer holds Cooper’s hand in parking lots and buckles his seat belt. Cooper says his brother’s name when he’s sad. He shows him trains and his secret world. And Sawyer listens.

Their bond is undeniable. It took longer and it looks different than most. But it’s beautiful and real and so worth it.

I think Sawyer is lucky sometimes. Because he gets so much more. He gets this and that, color and shades of grey, and trains and baby snuggles. He gets different and more.

And that matters.

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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