I cannot remember a time when any of my other siblings have been sick and I've had to live at home without mom and dad because they were at the hospital for one of them. I have always been the one in the hospital for long periods of time. My birthday has never been missed because of a sibling who was in the hospital. But my little sister has come to the hospital cafeteria to celebrate two of her birthdays with me. And never once has she ever complained about it. My parents have never had to miss a school production I was in because of a sibling who was in the hospital. But Cami's third grade "Bug Play" had to be missed by my mom because she was needed at the hospital. My sister never complained about that either.
I've gotten used to being somewhat the center of attention because of how sick I've been in my life. My mom has often pointed out that that isn't uncommon amongst kids who are chronically and critically ill like I have been. There are times in my life when I have needed to be the center of attention because I was in a horrible mess health wise. But like all people who have an illness, we also need to learn that there are other people in our lives and their stories matter too.
When my parents asked me what I wanted to do for my 21st birthday and I told them I wanted to go to Disneyland, my older sister who was born with a VSD jokingly said, "Man when I turned 21 they didn't take me anywhere!" In response I replied with a laugh and asked, "How many times have you almost died?" "Good point." Was her reply and we laughed it off. But I should've acknowledged that my older sister's story is just as important as mine. Sure it was a joke and we laughed it off... but Dana's story matters too. All of my siblings have stories that matter whether they have an illness or not.
Reading a blog post by a friend of mine helped me to realize this. My dear friend is a sibling of two brothers who have Cerebral Palsy, while she is the "normal" one. I've posted the link to her blog below and encourage parents of kids who have special needs to read this, along with anyone who has an illness or disability of any sort that has siblings who are healthy. Yes our lives are hard, but lets not forget that our siblings have struggles too and that they are just as important as us.
Please click this link to read a beautiful blog from the sibling's point of view. Claire's Blog
Hope and Love