I don’t have a sister so I don’t personally know that bond that takes place between them. But when I see Charlie with Ryan, I can understand it. Charlie loves Ryan so much that it makes my heart break and soar at the same time.
Charlie is almost 3. She is an exceptional child. She is cute, beyond smart, funny, and generally everything that a first-time parent could want. Everyone who meets her falls in love. She’s so great, that of course we wanted to have another child. We wanted another Charlie. But we didn’t just want another child for all the selfish reasons that parents want children, like the unconditional love, the giggles and kisses and pitter patter of little feet. We wanted another child for Charlie. The girls don’t have a father – they have a donor. And although they will never have the ability to meet him (we chose a donor who didn’t want his information revealed to his offspring) they can still meet their half-siblings. I’m sure that as Charlie gets older and begins to understand that we are not the norm as far as a family goes, there will be a little confusion, a lot of questions, and probably a little resentment. I wanted our kids to have each other to turn to when times got a little tough. I always envisioned Charlie and her sibling, whoever it would be, going on their journey as young adults, traveling across the country visiting their half-siblings and comparing notes. Like, do they look alike, or act the same or have the same facial expressions? But now, I’m not sure that will happen. Will Charlie feel even more alone than she would have if she were an only child? She doesn’t know yet that Ryan is different. She doesn’t understand yet that Ryan may not be able to play with her like a typical sister could. Will she become resentful in time? Will she get jealous of the time we spend at the doctor’s office with her, or all the time we have to hold her because she can’t sit and entertain herself yet? Will she feel embarrassed of her “special” sister when she goes off to school and other kids find out? Only time will tell.
But in the meantime, when I see them together, I try to only be happy for Charlie. The other day, as the girls were laying together on our bed, Katie asked Charlie if they were causing trouble. Charlie said that no, they were causing fun! She is so in love. She can’t get enough of her sister. She sits with her, kisses her, shakes her rattle for her and celebrates every smile, roll over and push up she does. She is always asking for her “Ryster Rooster” or “Rystie” as we call her. So many people have told me that siblings of special needs kids are amazing and caring and empathetic. Charlie is one of the most amazing people that I know and I can only hope that she realizes that Ryan loves her just as much as she loves Ryan, even though she can’t show it or say it…. yet!