So William, our 6-year-old boy on the spectrum, has a precious 4-year-old (in 4 days) sister, Margaret.
Melanie and I thought and prayed long and hard about having another child after William. We were conscious of the higher chance of having a second child with special needs and that gave us pause, but we were willing to take that chance because we know we were given William by the Lord for a purpose–one of which is to write our book and to share our story with so many other parents out there dealing with similar circumstances.
Margaret goes by many names….Miss Margaret, Margeaux, Chunga-Munga and my favorite, Bubba Girl. If you’ve ever met her or seen her you know that “Bubba Girl” is totally not reflective of her, and that’s why I think I like it so much.
Margaret is off the charts smart. She can converse on a level of most middle schoolers. She uses crazy-big words like “sphere” and “condensation” and uses them correctly in a sentence. She is super-smart and just soaks everything up like a sponge. She remembers EVERYTHING that she’s ever done or that we’ve ever done (scary!) and is funny and all that good stuff.
Most of all…she loves her brother. She has this sensitive heart that breaks when he won’t respond to her or play with her or if he hurts her.
She knows what Autism is. It’s amazing how she’s so young and yet she’s so mature and able to comprehend that William is different and special and yet is a child of God and loved by our Creator.
Recently we created a video to send to a national magazine that had interviewed us via phone but wanted to see what our lives were like on a daily basis. So we got the Flip camera and interviewed Margaret.
The depth and knowledge of this child is just phenomenal! She might not be able to express everything (although she’s pretty close) but she understands that there’s something different and unique about her beloved brother.
We asked her, “tell us about your brother” and she replied: “William has autism and I love him and I’m going to take care of him.”
We just sat there in silence. As a 4-year-old she understands that one day (possibly) her role will be that of a big-younger sister.
We asked her about the difficulties in understanding him and she explained how she helped William pay attention and “look at my eyes” and listen better.
It broke my heart and yet gave me such encouragement…here is this precious child…she shouldn’t have to be concerned with autism or special needs or knowing that one day she’s going to be taking care of her brother…but she embraces that and is okay with her calling.
Parents…talk to your children about your child on the spectrum. Make sure they understand (as much as possible) what Autism is and what that means. They are smart kids, they know something’s different–so instead of ignoring it, embrace, express, inform your children…make sure they understand that, yes, their sibling is special, but in a good way…that they still are a part of the family structure and there’s nothing “wrong” with them…they just have a different set of challenges in life.
Margaret is not perfect. Her parents are certainly not perfect. Her brother is not perfect. We’re going to all have our moments…but I truly believe that because Melanie and I were open and honest with Margaret early on about William’s situation and taught her to love him and stand up for him and support him…as they grow in life, we’re going to see an amazing picture of unconditional love (at least as much as humanly possible).
To read more blogs from Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”. To contact TheFowler4 Group email: firstname.lastname@example.org