Caregiving, Disability

April 6, 2021

My first-born is the best sibling for my second

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My blog started as a way to document my journey to wellness, but turned into a place to be inspired by others through our collective messy & authentic stories. Now it's my favourite place to be.

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With everything that goes on with Maeve, it is easy to let her take over all aspects of my life. When I sleep, eat, go out, work out, go to the bathroom – you name it. This girl has complete control over me, and I have a feeling she wouldn’t have it any other way. Although I have tried my hardest to prevent this from happening, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that this also affects her older sister as well. 

I don’t brag enough about my first born (I’ll refer to her as ‘O’).  Almost 10 years ago, her arrival changed my entire world. I had secretly hoped and wished that she was going to be a girl, but I didn’t dare say those words out loud. Mainly because there was not a doubt in my mind that she was going to be a boy. The little dimple on her sweet little face melted our hearts immediately. It was amazing to see her dad turn into a blubbering ball of mush as soon as he laid eyes on her. 

She has been perfection since day 1. Although an extremely needy and clingy baby, I cherished every minute with her. The only way she would nap was in the baby carrier, so the first year of her life I had never walked more. I couldn’t put her down, and I wouldn’t dare leave her for more than thirty seconds to use the bathroom!  With her dad constantly traveling for work, we had no choice but to bond and become obsessed with each other. I was a wee bit jealous that she looks EXACTLY like him, but it was quickly determined that she was much more like me. As she has gotten older, I love that I am often able to predict what she is about to say, before it even comes out of her mouth. It’s almost scary.  She has such a great sense of humour, we have reached a point where I find myself genuinely laughing at her jokes, I don’t even have to fake laugh anymore! Her sarcasm and wit often crosses the line, but I can’t help but feel as though she reaches into my brain and steals my thoughts. Some of the best conversations I have ever had have been with her. The way her brain works fascinates me. 

As similar as we are, I know that I really can’t take any credit for O turning out the way she has. Where we differ is her selflessness. She is such an unbelievably kind soul that is so considerate of others. I think we could all learn from her. At times it is too much, as she constantly puts others before herself. She can also be super sensitive, and twists things around in her mind, to the point where she feels people are intentionally trying to hurt her feelings. Okay fine… she may have gotten that from me.

I’m enjoying hearing her little 9 year old dreams while they last, because there isn’t a doubt in my mind that they will change. As it stands now, O wants to go to university less than an hour away so that she can visit us every weekend. After graduation she and Maeve will move into a house on our street. Ha! I wish. This has now become my dream as well. These two are so lucky to have each other. Their relationship is so special, I’m so grateful. I want her to live her life and experience everything the world has to offer. I would love to see her travel, have amazing friendships, fall in love and just LIVE.  I had so much fun in my teenage years and my twenties, and I don’t feel like I missed out on much. I hope the exact same for her. 

I remember seeing other parents automatically start treating their first born like little grown-ups as soon as the second child arrived. I never thought that was fair, and I swore I would NEVER do it. Maeve was born so teeny tiny and new, and O automatically became a giant in comparison. With Maeve being so helpless (and so demanding), O became my little assistant. It was unavoidable. I feel so guilty when I see how much I baby Maeve, I know in my heart that O was ripped off. She truly deserved a lot of extra coddling, especially with all of the challenges and changes that Maeve brought into her life.

This pandemic has been so hard on her. She is used to being second fiddle because of Maeve’s needs, but this year has been especially difficult. We made the decision to keep the girls home, terrified of Maeve’s underlying health issues. We just couldn’t risk it. O has become increasingly anxious about everything. She lies in bed and cries about what will happen with Maeve when she is older. She’s upset that when the world does go back to normal, they won’t go to the same school, and she won’t be able to protect her. I hate it. Mainly because I know that this is all my fault. Although I try to hide it, she has picked up on all of my fears and anxieties. Our house is tiny, and we have spent so much time together, I suppose I couldn’t hide things from her forever. I dread the day she comes to the realization that her mom isn’t quite as great as she thinks she is. I do not want her to hate me. 

The thought of what will happen to Maeve once I’m gone constantly keeps me up at night. I would never put this pressure on her sister, but I do hope that she will decide on her own to be with her forever. Is that unrealistic? Unfair? Probably. 

Life can be stressful enough without all of these extra challenges, but I really feel everyone could learn so much from the siblings of children with disabilities. They learn compassion, patience and are fiercely loyal and protective right from the beginning. The world would be a better place if O gave lessons on how to treat others. Everyone could benefit from having someone like her in their lives. I am so lucky. 

Steph D.

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  1. […] can read more about Steph and her family in these blog posts: “My First-Born is the Best Sibling for my Second”, “Missing My People” and “Destroying the House One Hot Wheels at a […]

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My blog started as a way to document my journey to wellness, but turned into a place to be inspired by others through our collective messy & authentic stories. We chat about themes that are often ignored and voices that aren't often given a chance at the mic. Now it's my favourite place to be. 

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