Tonight I took my two middle sons to their martial arts class.
After an enjoyable time watching them move and learn we discussed the option of ice-cream on the ride home and strolled leisurely out of the rec centre. A boy from Graysons grade 1 class said hello as we exited and he entered the building.
“That was Brent” Gray advised me.
“he’s lucky. He doesn’t have an older brother, he just has a sister.”
I smiled. Then I clued in that he specified OLDER brother. He wasn’t referring to the two younger ones.
“So, whats so bad about having an older brother?” I asked gently.
He turned and caught my gaze with his big green eyes. The little freckles across the bridge of his nose made me smile. “Well, he never wants to play with me, um, he has autism, he doesn’t like to play WII…he has autism..so he just doesn’t like me.”
I take his hand and move to the retaining wall of the garden outside the rec centre. I sit, pulling him gently down too.
“Grayson, your brother really loves you. Sometimes people with Autism have a hard time playing with others….but not because they don’t want to. They also process information differently then you and I…different, but good. Different isn’t a bad thing honey, it just means that we have to be creative in finding ways to play together.”
He looks at me a little confused, a little leery but mostly interested and happy.
“I wonder if maybe you could think about what things you and Lincoln both enjoy and then we could take those ideas and find ways you can share enjoying them…what do you think?” I ask.
He smiles. “DEAL!”
My heart broke just a little as I realized that my son wanted nothing more then to be accepted and loved by his older sibling. I had a hard time keeping my voice steady while I assured him that his brother loves him (which he does to the moon and back) and tried to explain that Lincoln had no more control over how he reacts to things then we do and that we shouldn’t judge him because we wouldn’t want to be judged.
I am very glad that my 6 year old wasn’t afraid to let me know he felt as if he wasn’t wanted. I can imagine it would be hurtful to think your brother didn’t like you and it is certainly not the truth.
“Ready for an ice-cream?” I asked after a quick hug and snuggle.
“Ready, Mom!” the boys chimed.
“And Mom?” Grayson pipes up from the backseat and we buckle in ” I love you”.