From the Eyes of a Child: Having a Sibling with a Rare Condition

Hi my name is Tatum and I’m 13 years old. I have an older sister named Avery who is 18. She has special needs and was born with a rare condition called Williams Syndrome. When I was younger, I remember always knowing she was different, but I wasn’t exactly sure why. As I matured, I started to understand more as to why she was different. I began to realize that everyone has something that may not be easy to deal with, but you have to roll with what life gives you. It was not easy though. I remember when I was five and I cried because I didn’t have a sibling that would play with me and she wanted to be left alone. I asked my mom to help me. I felt a lot of resentment towards Avery because she said no a lot and it made me feel very alone. Also my mom was always stressed and dealt with one thing after another with my sister and I felt sad for her. Another difference in our house is that my parents are married. My mom is divorced from Avery’s dad and even though Avery and her dad saw each other a lot I’m sure it bothered her that I had my dad in the house and she didn’t. My dad was always good to her and treated Avery the same as me. There was also a period of time that I would have my friends over and I didn’t want her to be around because I thought my friends would think she was weird. They never did and they were always nice but I was uncomfortable. I began to appreciate my sister even though she could be hard to deal with, I always made sure to show extra compassion and always be more patient with her then I would be with anyone else. I always try to put myself in her shoes. As I got older my mom would explain to me that my path on life would be so much different then my sister’s and that my sister knew that so I needed to try to absorb that. I would be moving on to be independent and have so many more experiences then her and she also knew that. How would I feel if it was hard to make friends or watch other people do things I knew I was incapable of? Every time I thought about this it made me understand the situation more and more. I was always thrilled when I met people in the same situation as me because I knew I could relate to them. Now, I realize that because of Avery. I have become more mature than some of my peers because I know that not everything is perfect. I now volunteer at a program to help special needs kids make friends and bond with others. I get paired with a kid with special needs and we do fun activities together and I go over to their house once a week for an hour to spend time with them. Even though sometimes I don’t want to do it, when I leave I’m always so glad and I know I made someone else’s day so much better. My sister currently lives in a group home with 7 other residents. She couldn’t be happier which makes me so glad she is with people like herself. Even though sometimes it may be inconvenient to have a sibling with special needs, I know things always happen for a reason and in the long run, it helps me to be a better person.
I will always be there for her and as my parents get older I will always make sure my sister is well taken care of.

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