Big Sister

Three years ago today my twins entered the world in a flurry of activity that was the perfect climax of a tumultuous pregnancy.

I left our home the day before Thanksgiving for a check up with the OB. I told my daughter I was going to the doctor and that I would be home soon. Within an hour I was being checked into the maternity ward at the hospital and monitored for pre-term labor. We were at 27 weeks. I stayed in the hospital for six weeks, through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and almost to New Year’s. Throughout my stay in the hospital there were questions of how long I would need to stay there, whether the insurance would approve it, and “When?” When would these babies come and would they be “okay.”

Meanwhile my daughter was caught in a downward spiral. At this point in the journey we only knew she had a language delay. We knew very little about Autism Spectrum Disorders, and the experts we had consulted evidently didn’t have a complete picture of her challenges. Unknowingly I had served as her primary support. I provided her routines because it was an easy pattern for both of us. I was one of the few people who understood her speech. I knew a few of her triggers and how to avoid them. I served as a conduit between her and “the world.” When I essentially disappeared the floor fell from her feet and she was free-falling. I heard tales of scary behavior at preschool and play dates. Everyone was concerned but no one knew what to do, and all I could do was lay in bed and worry for all of my children, counting the hours that made up my days and weeks.

From this inauspicious beginning, one might wonder if we were wise to be making siblings for our daughter. The beginning was, admittedly, hard on her. Even after I returned home I stayed on the couch or in bed for a week and couldn’t do more than read stories. When the babies were born I had to split my time between my daughter and the NICU. Then after the babies came home (three weeks after their birth) there was less time with both Mommy and Daddy.

However, now these little people are a treasure that she is beginning to value. There are times she wants rid of them (I suppose this is true of anyone who has a sibling) but she will also passionately declare her love for them. She loves to “help” them and in the best of moments will play with them unreservedly. Nothing provides a crucible for teaching social skills like the companionship of a couple of two-going-on-three-year-olds. So far they push her to keep learning new skills. At some point they may become models instead. I trust that she will always be a treasure to them as well. These three years have proven the strength of sibling love, and made one very proud and capable big sister.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.