When siblings have to grow up.

This is Connor, you’ve all seen him before. You’ve heard me speak about him before too. He is Sams amazing funny clever and kind big brother.

Connor has some very specific needs which we now need to meet to help him reach his full potential. I’m not going to say anymore as we haven’t discussed me sharing anything online yet. So I won’t.

Tonight, I’ve put Sam to bed, and gone in to see Connor. He is in bed too. He’s not felt himself tonight. I think he has some anxiety manifesting. But he can’t tell me specifics so I’m only guessing.

Anyway, after I kissed him goodnight and came downstairs I just got to thinking…Connor was seven when Sam was born and ten when we received Sams diagnosis. Because of the gap, a walking talking albeit clumsy child vs a wee defenceless baby, Connor was definitely the older brother and treated as such from day one. He engaged with Sam as a baby, passed me nappies and wipes etc. He just didn’t get the relationship he or we had envisaged.

What I have realised, and this makes me quite sad is that as he turned ten and we got that diagnosis six days after, Connor was encouraged to grow up. Not on purpose but with gentle words about ‘Sam can’t help it’ or ‘Please be patient with him.’ Sam used to try and push Connor out of the room. Which we didn’t allow but which led Connor to spend more time upstairs on his xbox. He grew up a lot in a very short time. He saw and heard a lot as we began to understand autism together as a family.

We actively encourage Connor to spend time alone with us or as a foursome, but what I’ve realised tonight is we asked so much of Connor at ten years old. TEN!! That is too young to really comprehend the logistics of our new dynamic. His brother shut him out and that must have hurt.

We would say we did our best. But did we? Really? We became so tired and so caught up and Connor had to take all the rough as well as the smooth. He still does.

He’s ok. I know he is, this is mum guilt talking. But if I could just change one thing about having autism enter our lives it would be the way it has affected his life.

He’s never been an outgoing sporty kind of kid, but he was still just that. A kid. A little boy.

He is 13 now and has enough empathy to go around a room, he is incredibly articulate, and I know that as an adult he will be kind, generous & accepting. But he still gets peed off with his brother and autism. That is his right. His feelings are so valid.

We don’t force him to engage with Sammy, he is happy to. He fully knows when to play and when to step back and has accepted his role as Sams brother on Sams terms, because like it or not for peace to preside it has to be on Sams terms. He is our champion.

Sam looks so like Connor. That’s Connor top right. Definitely brothers 🥰❤️

Anyway, this post has been for me more than for anyone who might read it. And if Connor ever reads it in the future I want him to know he is so valued. He is so loved. He is as important as his brother, and I’m so sorry he had to grow up a bit quicker than he should have done. 💙

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