April 10th was International Siblings Day! Today I’m going to tell you about my daughters and their amazing relationship.
Madi, our typical daughter is an amazing kid. Her life is obviously influenced a lot by her sister’s syndrome. How could it not be? When people think of Madi, I think sometimes they see a little girl that misses out on things because of her sister. I don’t think Madi sees it that way at all and that’s part of what makes her so amazing. When I look at Madi, I see a kind, caring, compassionate, smart little girl who loves her sister more than anything and I just don’t understand how that can be missing out. She has an amazing bond with Ali. She doesn’t see disability or weakness, she just sees Ali. Actually, Madi sees everyone as equal. To Madi, Ali isn’t a little girl with a syndrome, she’s just her sister. Madi is really an amazing big sister and I think if you asked her, she’d say that Ali’s is a pretty great little sister too. Ali adores Madi and wants to do everything that she does. Although I sometimes hear Madi complaining about her little “shadow”, Madi will play with Ali for hours on end. They love to play together. Sometimes they fight (I use that term lightly) but to be honest it makes me smile because that’s how it’s supposed to be. When I ask Madi to help Ali, she never complains (even if she sometimes has to chase Ali to help her). Madi knows that sometimes Ali needs extra help and she is always happy to provide it. She understands that when we love someone, sometimes we have to make sacrifices for them. Sometimes we have to put what others need before what we want. It’s part of being a family. It’s part of loving and supporting the people who mean the most to us. In return, Ali always tries to help Madi. I’m pretty sure that a lot of the time, she’s not actually helpful but she’s returning the favour and to Ali that’s what counts!
I agree when people say that sisters and brothers of children with special needs give up a lot for their siblings but I also believe that they gain a lot. I used to regret that Madi would never have a “typical” sibling relationship with her sister. They are only two years apart. They were supposed to grow up gossiping with each other about life, boys and Jason and I. I’m not sure that’s the kind of relationship that they’re going to have. I do think that they will grow up the best of friends, each with their own unique things to offer the other. I think that Ali will learn a lot from Madi and that in turn, Madi will learn from Ali. I don’t think Ali would be where she is today without Madi and Madi wouldn’t be who she is without Ali. They’re sisters and to them that’s all that matters. The rest is just details.