The range of comments I receive while in the line at Costco or other random places never ceases to amaze me. While most have sincere tones of support, amazement or kindness, some others come flying out of tactless mouths (of both strangers and familiar faces) so fast that I have to blink twice in disbelief over what I just heard.
One particular comment made by someone was on what a strain a special needs child must put on the other siblings. I didn’t even bother with a reply. I couldn’t. My explanation to the contrary would have been too long and they probably wouldn’t have understood in the end anyway.
I could never imagine a greater gift to my other children’s lives than their “special” brother, Bridger. And conversely, they are the greatest gift to him.
There is something about siblings that is magical. When Bridger one day crawls, I’m sure it will be to go play with Sadie. When Bridger says his first word, I’m sure it will be to Eva. When Bridger finally eats a doughnut, I’m sure it will be a moment shared with Lance.
Our latest miracle came out of those sibling connections. Bridger is primarily g-tube fed with a menu of about 4 things that he will eat. He has strong oral defenses that we are working with feeding therapists and an outstanding GI team to overcome. Lately, we have succeeded in stretching his list of acceptable foods to about 8.
Then along comes a brother with a tray full of cheese puffs that I have had no success getting Bridger to eat. Lance comes along, sings a little song, and **PRESTO** Bridger opens his mouth and eats Lance’s cheese puff offering. The next night, I make some homemade pizza for dinner. Bridger had eaten cheese bread at some random moment in the past, so I was working on this food with him. No luck. Lance comes over, does his little game, and pizza is consumed. Two entire pieces to be exact! The next morning, french toast sticks. One sweet big brother just did what a team of therapists and doctors had been unsuccessful in doing after months of strategizing. They are amazed by this magical sibling connection.
Still, not a chance at all that Bridger would ever let a goldfish cracker in his mouth. That is, until this afternoon, when Eva came along.
FAST FORWARD 3 YEARS: I wrote the above in 2009. I marvel as I read it now, with its hope and anticipation of a future time when Sadie would be the one Bridger would crawl to, when Eva would be the one Bridger would say his first word to, and when Lance would share a doughnut with his brother.
Today, Bridger moves (in his chair) for Sadie as they cut a rug together that is worthy of any dance-off. One of Bridger’s first words was not to Eva, it was for Eva. His little mouth hollers for “E-Bee” from all over the house. Indeed, Lance and Bridger regularly eat off of each others plates (as long as it is ice cream, pancakes or Lucky Charms).
Some may see these as developmental coincidences. But where others choose to see coincidences, I choose to see miracles — miracles that these siblings created that I could not.
A lifetime of perfect mothering could not have formed the hearts in these others that just 5 years with their special brother has.
These other four . . . they are special, too.