In the midst of all the joy and celebration, there were some unsettled feelings with Bryce. Having his brother receive the honorary alumnus award at Trinity didn’t bring him a sense of pride, instead his perspective was a dark cloud over his own triumphs. It isn’t easy being the sibling of a special needs individual. Constantly overshadowed by their needs, there is a sense of unbalance in his eyes.
Parenting doesn’t offer us a level playing field. Each child has different needs and we do our best to honor them. Sometimes we fall short. In this instance, I felt as if I were in a tug-of-war. There is the part of me that was so jubilant over this amazing honor bestowed on Bailey. Then there is the other part of me who was hurting for Bryce.
I decided well before the breakfast on Friday to inform Bryce so he wasn’t blindsided with the award that Bailey was receiving. He was angry that it was happening during his “time”. “Why couldn’t it be any other year?” “This sucks.” These were the very honest remarks that he made during our conversation. Here was how I responded:
“This honor was never meant to take anything away from you and your accomplishments. In fact, I feel like your classmates are honoring you as well by giving him this award. Your brother makes $8.40 per hour serving food to high school boys with a smile on his face. He is making an impact. Isn’t that what we all strive to do? Now, I can’t fix this. I can’t make you see this differently, but years down the road, I imagine that your perspective will change. At least I hope so. Now, while I completely respect your feelings. Please understand that I am going to bask in this moment for him.”
Even yesterday, he grimaced as other classmates came up to him to express how cool they thought it was that his brother received that honor. Tears streamed down his face last night after a family gathering where Bailey’s name was added to the cake celebrating all the graduates. I can’t fix this. He is on his own journey to sort out his feelings and figure out how to deal with them in an appropriate manner.
So, in the middle of the happiness, my heart cracked a bit watching one of my boys hurting. My gratitude lies in his willingness to be open and honest with me. He will work it out in his own time. I just need to give him the space and respect to allow him to feel his feelings.