I know raising my brother, who has a disability, takes a toll on you in more ways than one could imagine. Being your child without the disability, I know you struggled with if you were doing right by me. If your time devoted to my brother, affected me in a way that judged you as an inadequate mother. How do I know you struggled with these roller coaster of emotions? How do I know it was hard for you to manage being both my brother’s caretaker and a mother to me, “your other child?”
Because I saw you fight back tears with everything inside you, so we didn’t see you cry.
I saw you want to scream in anger at things out of your control, but you didn’t.
I saw you more than once take a deep breath and channel your inner strength to put one foot in front of the other just to play with us one more round.
See mom, when you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you.
When you thought you weren’t giving me enough attention, I had the right attention.
When you thought you weren’t giving me what you should, because you were giving my brother what he needed, I discovered in those moments what I needed.
When you thought you were the worst mom, I saw the only mom I ever wanted.
When you thought you were failing me, you were building strength within me.
When you thought your feeling of defeat was glaring at me, I saw a woman who let the storms of life empower her, instead of ripping her apart.
Mom, I saw you.
Here are the things you taught me as I have grown into a young woman watching you care for your child with a disability, my brother.
You showed me strength. When most would have given up or shut down, you became a warrior. You became an advocate for my brother, trying to get people to understand when they had their own opinions that he was less than. I learned this by watching you.
You made me a believer. You believed in possibilities. You believed when no one else did. You believed that there was a light that glowed at the end of the tunnel. You walked towards that light every day, no matter how hard it was. You taught me to believe in the purpose that was gifted to us. You believed in a brighter tomorrow, and didn’t focus on the struggles of today. I am a believer because of you. I believe we all have purpose and that I can make others believe in that purpose too. I learned this by watching you.
You made me an independent woman. When you thought I was alone and isolated because the attention went to my brother, I was learning ways to be independent. I was learning to be a strong woman, who didn’t need others to support her. I was learning to be happy for myself. I was learning how to be strong and fearless, because that is what was needed for our family. Just like you did everyday for our family. I learned this by watching you.
You made me a leader of change. You taught me how to look for opportunities around every corner, and if I couldn’t see them, create them. Watching you with my brother, you were always taking everyday moments to teach and enhance his learning. Everyday you fought for him to have the best life possible filled with happiness. I am a fighter for what is right and what people deserve. I learned this by watching you.
You taught me that life isn’t about being fair. I watched you refuse to play victim and refuse to quit. This is where I get my determination and dedication. You never allowed my brother’s disability to be a pity card. You never allowed my brother’s disability to be the reason you gave up. If anything, his disability made you more determined to be a better mom and make his life as happy as possible. You taught me how to flip the script, and do life with grace and acceptance. I learned this by watching you.
You taught me about faith. You taught me to have faith, when most people would question faith — the internal “why me?” battle. Why would God make this my journey? Why would God give me a child with a disability? I never saw you struggle with this battle, so it taught me to trust in Him. The purpose might be unclear at the moment, but we must continue to walk hand in hand. You never gave up on your faith. You shared that your faith is what got you through the toughest times. Your faith made me have faith. I learned this by watching you.
You taught me to be a mom. Maybe the most valuable lesson you could have ever taught me was how to be an amazing mother. You taught me that a mother makes sacrifices for their children. You taught me a mother must do what it takes to make their children happy. You taught me that a mother isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t hurt to strive for perfection. You taught me that a mother will struggle, but the struggle shouldn’t make you quit. You taught me that a mother must fight to the end for their children, no matter who tells you differently. If I could be half the mother you are to my brother and me, I know my kids would be blessed.
Mom, this letter is to tell you that I turned out okay.
I know there were times you might have cried yourself to sleep not knowing how to support both of your children, when my brother required so much more of you.
I know there were times you carried guilt for having to say no to me, because you had to say yes to him.
I know there were times it broke your heart, because you missed moments with me because you were with him.
I know there were times you failed at being able to balance both of our needs at the same time, and you had to pick him over me because the odds were against him.
Rest easy momma, you taught me what matters. You were there when it counted. Watching you be a mom to my brother, was everything I needed to be the woman I am today.
From your daughter that had everything she needed
Quote for all the mommas out there:
She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She walked with the universe on her shoulders and made it look like wings. ~Ariana Dancu
If you enjoyed this blog I would encourage you to also read my blog: The Emotional Impact of Having a Brother/Sister with a Disability