Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Love and Expectations of a Big Brother

On the way home from school the other day Luke told me, "Mom, I don't care how long it takes or how hard it is... I am going to teach Reid until he can get into the GATE class". GATE meaning Gifted And Talented Education, which Luke is currently in the cluster class for.  He totally caught me off guard. OH MY GOSH, what a sweetheart this little boy is! And with all that is in him, he means it...the love and expectations of a brother are just unmeasurable! I truly believe that if we have high expectations for our children, all our children, and give them opportunity to grow and shine, they will. Somehow Luke has learned that already.

These words came from the same little boy that I was so afraid to tell that his baby brother had Down syndrome after he was born...that his brother would be a little different, look a little different, that he

 would take a little longer to learn things...but that he would. Nope, I couldn't do it. For the first 10 months of Reid's life Luke's understanding of the word Down syndrome was that it meant he had a "bad heart". We had friends tell us we were wrong for not giving him the whole diagnosis, but I just didn't feel he was ready, I wanted him to just get to know his brother without reservation. Looking back in hindsight Luke would of handled the entire news as he does everything... contemplative, inquisitive, and lovingly. But, the truth is I don't think I was ready to share all of it yet.

When we did finally share more of the diagnosis it was on the eve of our first Buddy Walk, when Reid was 10 and 1/2 months. Quite a few of Luke's friends were going to be joining us for the walk in the morning  and I didn't want him to hear about his brother's diagnosis from his friends. So, Toby and I sat him down and told him in more scientific terms what else Down syndrome meant for Reid besides his heart complications. We shared with him in detail and then told him how lucky Reid was to have such a super big brother who could help teach him things. You could see the wheels turning in Luke's head so we asked him if he had any questions....his response was "No...but hang on a second..." and he then proceeded to pick up a book from the coffee table and went right over to Reid and said, "See this word buddy, it says sss-k-y...sky". Toby and I looked at each other and knew right then and there that Luke was indeed going to be the best big brother for Reid. 

*The picture on top was taken when Reid was about 2 1/2.... He is looking through one of Luke's anatomy books while Luke explains to him what the Dr. did to repair his heart.


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12 comments:

Michelle said...

What a blessing to have such sweet boys..both of them. Kyler is my oldest...7 now and he was certainly meant to come first because he is the very same with Preslie She lights up when she sees him. Isn't that the best feeling in the world??!! Such cute boys!

Junior said...

Such wonderful boys, Reid does in deed have the best big brother possible. Love the pictures

DownTownDan said...

Wow, this is touching. My daughter is four, and although she is brilliant, I'm not ready to explain Ozzie's condition yet. She has never heard the words "Down syndrome." She hasn't seen my animation, either, and I made it just for her. I haven't really decided when we are going to tell her about it. Maybe next year? Maybe two years from now? I guess it depends on how many questions she starts asking. The thought of that conversation weighs heavily on me, because I don't want her to worry for Oz. And she is the most compassionate person I have ever met, and that's not hyperbole.

Cheri said...

Dan, your animation is great...I think it will be beneficial for a lot of siblings to watch. You will know when the right time is to share with your daughter, and just how much...whether little by little as her questions come or all at once. Regardless I am sure she will continue to amaze you with her compassion and brilliance. Having little Ozzie in her life and Reid for Luke will grow a depth in each of them that cannot be manufactured... the connection they have I can only describe as beautiful. :)

Hector and Jennifer Varanini Sanchez said...

Cheri!!! I'm totally crying after this post. Oh my gosh that is the sweetest post. Beautiful brotherly love. What a gift they are to each other. I feel my boys have the same tenderness with Joaquin. Diego at age 6 knows Joaquin has Ds and is beginning to understand so I'm ready to get some books for him....do you recommend any? Mateo at age 4 doesn't seem to understand what we are talking about but is certainly adorable when he talks about Joaquin's "therapy". Too cute! Are you coming to the convention Cheri? We HAVE to meet!

Nan P. said...

We all have the ability to accept others for WHO they are, and not to limit ourselves to who they are NOT. But children in particular have this ability in great abundance. Probably because they know less, they see what is in front of them, not anticipating what could be, might be, should be.

We often worry about how children may react to “bad news”, but I have always found that the simplicity and clarity of their thinking can appease my own fears better than any adult’s reassurance. We can all learn from children, and your story about Luke’s reaction then and his recent comment just proves it.

Lisa said...

Both of those pictures are precious. How lucky you are, Cheri to have the two beautiful boys...

Heidi said...

Reid is so blessed to have such a great big brother. I had such similar feelings with my two boys. I was so worried about Caleb's reaction to Joel having Ds. But - he just loves Joel because he is Joel. He doesn't understand a lot about Down syndrome because he is only 4 but he loves teaching Joel things and playing with him. That makes me feel so great!

Addie-tude-GO CARDINALS said...

Cheri-this definitely brought tears to my eyes. Lukie is a special boy as is Reid. Luke is one compassionate little man. I love the pictures. Love, Gloria

Kele said...

TISSUE please! Cheri, that is the sweetest story! I have no doubt that Luke is going to be the most AMAZING brother in the world, what a blessing he is to Reid, and Reid is to him!
Love you guys!
P.S. The second picture is such a beautiful potrait of two brothers, what a treasure!

Mandy Jones said...

I saw a link to your blog on someone elses and enjoyed your story and your precious family. I am with the Mustard Seed, www.mustardseedinc.org its an amazing place. Just wanted to share with you. God bless.

Bethany said...

Aww that is awesome!!

BTW what happened to the blog about the T13 baby? It says it isn't there?