Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Burden of the Sibling of Special Needs Children

From L to R: Margaret, James, & Joseph
In my case all the children are special needs but James is, by far, the highest functioning child of my three surviving quadruplets. Though it feels vastly unfair I have all ready told him he may have to be the caretaker of his brother and sister one day.  Nothing like that settling into a nine year old's psyche. Sigh! I wish I could live forever and not saddle him with this possible burden but I doubt I will live to be Methuselah's age!

All this was brought up last night during dinner.  James was discussing that he wanted to visit Tokyo. He was talking rather animatedly about the subject and then stopped and looked at me and asked, "What would I do with Joseph?" I asked him what he meant and he said he would worry about taking Joseph with him and how would he keep Joseph safe if he was not there. At that moment, my heart broke a little. It makes me sad that James thinks Joseph is so disabled he would not consider taking Joseph with him. Joseph is actually quite a smart little guy. And James was concerned on who would watch Joseph while he was gone!

James asked me if I could watch Joseph. I told him, if I was around, of course I would watch him!  Then he asked what he should do if I was not around and I said he would have to find a reliable caretaker for him. Margaret said she wanted to go to Tokyo too. James said he would take her ONLY if she would listen to him and stay close. That is brave of him since Margaret is the wanderer and I can see her getting distracted and lost in Tokyo.

This conversation poignantly reminded me that having disabled sibling(s) may be a life-long burden for one of the other children. I am going to do the best I can to plan for Margaret and Joseph. I pray James will find, and marry, a very understanding wife! In the meantime, we live our life with purpose and plan for the future.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. This story gave me something to think about. I have 2 special needs boys ages 4 and 2. I've been thinking about trying for another child, I'm secretly hoping it will be a girl. But also some part of me is afraid she might have special needs too. But if she doesn't then will she be able to bear the burden of being the sibling of shortcuts needs brother... your story just expressed my secret concern about having another child. Thanks for sharing