There was a period of my life where I really resented this part of my life. I got so sick of the sympathetic stares from strangers, they meant well, but it felt condescending. I felt like I was the person people in my religious town would look at and think "There but for the grace of God go I."
Honestly, some of them probably did. I get it, there were a lot of things I couldn't do because of who my brother is, and if you aren't used to a meltdown, they're really scary. Sometimes they're scary even if you are used to them.
Being the sibling of a special needs kid leaves you feeling invisible sometimes. That sounds cliche, but it's accurate. You become used to taking a backseat so your parents can pay attention to the child that needs it more.
I used to hate it. I hated that holidays were a ticking time bomb as to when he starts screaming and wouldn't stop. I hated that I couldn't have friends over often because he wouldn't leave us alone, and sleepovers at my house felt out of the question because he wouldn't sleep.
I'll be honest, that part was rough. It still is, but I don't resent it anymore. I understand, my brother isn't acting out to ruin things for everyone. He's scared. And he can't communicate that any other way.
Siblings of special needs kids sacrifice a lot of parts of childhood that their peers take for granted. While that is absolutely true, we aren't victims. Our family dynamic is different, absolutely, but that's ok.
I have great parents, and my feeling like a second thought sometimes growing up is not at all their fault. They did a great job, and I still felt valued. I just removed myself as much as I could because I was trying to be helpful.
Being a sibling of a child with special needs has put a lot of things in perspective for me. I felt a lot of pressure to succeed. I wanted to do everything really well because I felt like I had to do everything my brother's disability stopped him from doing.
I love my brother so, so much. I think he's a purely good person, and I think he's so smart and lives life to the best of his ability despite everything. I also appreciate him for how he's shaped me and helped me find my people.
All of my friends embrace my brother, and they never pass any judgment for the things I need to do a little differently. I love them for that, and I love my brother for helping to bring me to them. So, I no longer resent that part of my life, in fact, I love it wholeheartedly.
Siblings of special needs kids, you are incredible. You deserve to hear that. Keep going, and keep doing your best.
Do not hold yourself to an insane standard. Do not think that everyone is judging you when your sibling acts out in public. People worth caring about won't do that. Just live your life, and love what you love. That's more than enough.