When I was in the 5th grade, I was assigned an essay topic of "Hero". We were told to write about someone who inspired us, someone we looked up to. I remember that this topic stumped me for some reason. And like my Cookie, my frustration led to a major tantrum. There was crying, there was pencil throwing, and I think there was some major attitude towards my Mom who was trying to help. But eventually I sat down and began to write.
I wrote about my sister. I explained how she was the person I looked up to because she was such a great big sister. I wish I had kept that essay in order to remember exactly what I said. Today, I am reminded why I look up to my big sister. Why she is an inspiration and such a strong person. Why, as a parent, little annoying behaviors from my kids are just that...little.
Even before he was born, my nephew has faced challenges. The challenges many of us would struggle to cope with. Being born early, he spent weeks in the ICU. He had an irregular heartbeat, horrible reflux, and not to be forgotten the diaper rash so horrendous that he was placed bared assed up. Later more challenges appeared. Ear problems, resulting in tubes, thus surgery. By 2 1/2 he wasn't speaking and was diagnosed with Apraxia. Later came the diagnosis that he is slightly autistic, thus a need for a special diet. He seems to be allergic to a lot of things, like his mother. And now he is having seizures. Despite his challenges, he remains a sweet and loving boy. He brings joy to my Dad who just loves to spend time with him. He's in love with letters and was able to read and spell by age three. But some days it seems like this little boy is faced with nothing but an uphill battle. That his parents are faced with doctor visits upon doctor visits. Therapy session after therapy session. And many more challenges that parents of children with special needs face. Challenges that, those of us with seemingly "normal" kids could never understand.
Recently, my sister's daughter, my beautiful niece, was diagnosed with Apraxia, also. So today, when my sister has gotten heaped with more stress, more challenges, more to worry about, I salute her. She is truly my hero. She is someone I can proudly look up to and say, "I hope I can be as strong as her." Because today, my sister is faced with a child who on top of all those challenges may also be epileptic. Hang in there big Sis.