“Sometimes real superheroes live in the hearts of small children fighting big battles.”
This describes many kiddos I know fighting the autism battle. However, I think the kids that are often overlooked are the brothers and sisters. They are superheroes too.
It was 4am probably a year ago. 2 of our kiddos were sick and in bed with me and I hadn’t slept a wink. Dad had just left to work his second job supporting our family. Right as they started to doze off, the door opened and in popped my 6 year old. Everyone stirred and he asked to lay with us. Being tired, I was very short with him and told him yes but to hurry up so everyone didn’t wake up.
Lucas having his own set of struggles to deal with aside from his brother who falls on the opposite end of the spectrum, tonight was one of the nights where I just didn’t have it in me to respond the appropriate organized way that he needed. I didn’t answer him the right way and it hurt his feelings and he started to leave. Not wanting him to wake them, I harshly told him to just get in bed. He climbed into bed angry and mentally stuck on my response.
He then started fidgeting and getting increasingly agitated at his sister for being in his way almost waking her again. After I had about all I could handle, I impatiently said, “Lucas just go to bed, there’s no room in here for you!” My words pierced through the air even as I had just said them, I wished I could take them back. I knew that what I said, was more indicative of how Lucas had to feel as a whole compared to just the moment. I immediately apologized to him and made room for him, hugging him for the next while telling him how awesome and important he was.
I admit, it’s easy to overlook the one that is (much) higher functioning because you see so many severe needs that need taken care of with your other child. These other kiddos miss out on so much. It has been a balancing act and one that I have to consciously work on and make an effort in. I truly have to think differently for each child and some days I feel like I fail miserably.
Yet, today even as my heart is aching and I am writing this, I can’t help but be reminded what a superhero Lucas is despite his own challenges. Somewhere outside the realm of normal sibling rivalry and family struggles, I hope we must be doing something right.
-I hear him in the room with Lincoln playing the Wii. Lincoln yells, “Help Lucas!” Lucas carefully helps him and tells him what buttons to push to navigate through the game.” Then they begin giggling and cheering each other on. 20 months apart in age, different ends of the spectrum but so close in heart.
-I think how Lincoln sings his favorite nursery rhymes repeatedly all day. Lucas never missing a beat, joins in to “5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” singing and jumping on the bed right next to Lincoln. Lincoln notices and smiles welcoming Lucas. He tries so hard to be a part of Lincoln’s interests.
- I think of how Lucas and I sometimes join in on Lincoln’s movie scripts repeating the lines that we have heard hundreds of times. We catch each other doing it and smile.
-I think of his own rigidness, love of structure and schedules and aversion to certain noises and smells that I struggle to always understand especially in the midst of Lincoln having a bigger fit.
-I think how many times we have had to cut an event short because Lincoln isn’t handling it so well. From store trips to birthday parties and so many other things, I picture Lucas’ little heartbroken face in the rearview mirror trying to understand.
-I think of him when he reminds me, “Remember when Lincoln didn’t talk Mom and how God has healed him.” So confident and true child-like faith.
-I think of him praying for his brother on his own that “God would make his brain whole and help Lincoln.” I think of him confessing scripture over himself and Lincoln and not afraid to tell anyone that the Bible says God is our healer.
-I think that even though he has missed out on so much, the strong belief and Faith in God that we have instilled into him will carry him through this life and set him on a solid foundation to face any of life’s battles and challenges.
I think of so many things and I am gratefully reminded, that despite all of my shortcomings, despite his own struggles; “Sometimes real superheroes live in the hearts of small children fighting big battles.”
----------------------------------------Me, Lincoln (age 5), Lucas (age 6)-------------------------------------------------