Superheroes Among Us: Happy Birthday Sawyer

Sawyer Bday

Today is my son Sawyer’s eleventh birthday.

Which is a really big deal. Because according to him he’s basically 16.

I am a storyteller. At least I consider myself one. I think our stories are what complete us. And telling stories about Sawyer are my favorite. And I write them down so one day, when I am old and grey, we will have them to look at.

This is my favorite Sawyer story…

We had arrived at Cooper’s school to pick him up for the day.

It was Jamie, Sawyer, the baby and me.

Cooper came running out. All excited.

His therapist said we have something to say to Sawyer.

Cooper was jumping up and down and clumsily pushed a button on his speech device.

‘Happy Birthday!’ the automated voice said. Then he giggled and clapped.

‘Thanks buddy,’ said Sawyer.

Then Sawyer helped Cooper climb into our SUV and navigate his way over the backpacks and shoes and treasures into the third row.

And then he proceeded to reach around Cooper, grab his seatbelt, stretch it around and buckle him in.

At age 9, Cooper was still unable to buckle himself. I typically do it every single time. But not today. (He learned how when be was 10!)

Today, Sawyer buckled his older brother in safely. Without being asked.

Then he said…

‘Mama, I thought about something today. I’m sorta scared to tell you.

Have you ever thought what it would be like if Cooper and I switched places?

Like, if I was the older brother. And Cooper was the younger brother.

But I didn’t have autism. And he still did. So, I was still me. And he was still Snoopy Joe.

I thought about that today.

I think it would be easier for me to help take care of him. I could do more if I was the bigger brother.

I could protect him more.

And maybe it would be easier for you and Dad too.’

I just stared at him.

All of him.

The little boy who is scared to sleep alone and still sleeps with his baby blanket and calls me mama and cries when he gets his toenails cut.

The little boy with the old soul. A soul older than most.

You can say whatever you want about siblings of children with disabilities. Because running this page I have heard it all.

You can call them superheroes. You can say that they shouldn’t be praised for doing what they should be doing.

My opinion, well, it’s unwavering.

Kids like Sawyer are unbelievable.

Because they are born into advocacy. And they see things that most people know nothing about.

They know patience and kindness and bravery. They know how to buckle their older sibling’s seatbelts and hold their hands when they cross the street. And they worry about their moms and dads.

So, if you ask me, they are superheroes. Just like the siblings they protect.

Happy birthday buddy.

Thank you for being you. You are the absolute best in my book.

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.
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Kate Swenson

Kate Swenson lives in Minnesota with her husband Jamie, and four children, Cooper, Sawyer, Harbor and Wynnie. Kate launched Finding Cooper's Voice from her couch while her now 11-year-old son Cooper was being diagnosed with autism. Back then it was a place to write. Today it is a living, thriving community of people who want to not only advocate for autism, but also make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her first book, Forever Boy, will be released, April 5, 2022.

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