I grew up as the middle child, smack in the middle of a big brother and a little sister, so besides the typical "middle child syndrome", I honestly do not recall ever being in the shadows to my siblings. We all took the spotlight at one time or another and as a true testament to our great parents, they both attended everything that we ever took part in. I never realized how lucky I should have felt nor how lucky I truly was to not have to live in the shadows of a medically complex sibling.
Today the baby girl who made me a ema is celebrating her 7th birthday. I am an emotional mess as my heart bursts at the flashback of seven years of amazing memories flooding my vision as well as the heartache I feel over how much I have missed over the past two years of her life. The sacrifices that have been made because of her birth order and thankfully fortunate health. I think the life of a special needs sibling can be overlooked or passed over easily because "kids are resilient", but it should never be taken for granted.
As the oldest of four, the personal responsibility that our Laeya has placed on herself to take care of her siblings has been beautiful to watch unfold over the years. She has always been a doting big sister eager to help, hold, and teach her brother and sisters. She was given a special soul that shares a deep and unique bond with Sonzee that brings me to tears on a daily basis. She ignores any grouchiness and just loves on her no matter the situation. They have a connection unlike anything I have ever seen. She tells us all the time that after she gets married Sonzee will come and live with her. I cannot tell you how much joy and overwhelming peace it brings to my heart and mind because I know should this ever come to fruition, it will be the case.
While there is no shortage to the positive experiences having a special needs sibling has brought, there are similarly and sadly the same amount of less desirable situations. No matter how much we try to protect her from the reality of the situation, she is not a baby, a seven-year-old "gets it". There are situations she has sadly come to understand and expect and it breaks my heart that some of them are now routine. No matter how routine it has become to miss holidays as a family or not be home for bedtime, she does not even show it, if that bothers her, she takes it all in stride. She is one resilient, intelligent, sassy, loving, sensitive, and sweet girl.
My dearest Laeya, on today, your seventh birthday I want you to know that you have and will continue to bring a huge smile to my face and tears to my eyes as I watch you excel and grow into the beautiful person you are destined to be. You will always be our Laeya bear, you will always be our first child, the one who we make constant mistakes on and learn from daily. You will continue to challenge us and make us better parents (for that your siblings will thank you and probably hold a small grudge). You will continue to outshine your previous performance in all aspects of life and I cannot tell you how much of honor it has been to be your ema over the past seven years. I hope no matter how much physical time apart we may be forced to have over the years or how much time is spent "with Sonzee", that you truly understand that you are just as important and as valuable as her. We love you and I hope this year will be your best yet!
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