So many times much of our focus is on Jake. We have big decisions to make when it comes to his education, we struggle with which therapies are most important and we work on his behaviors. John and I discuss this often and at times I feel as if Allie is in the background. I have asked Allie to be honest with me and tell me if she feels “left out” and she assures me she doesn’t feel this way, but as her mom I wonder if this is a true statement or if she just doesn’t want to hurt my feelings.
First let me say that Allie is indeed an awesome big sister! She would do anything to help her brother and is one of his biggest supporters! But they are siblings. There is an 11 year age difference and, at times, if you were to pop in my home you might think I had two 5 year old’s! At other times you might think Jake has two moms! In some ways it is much harder having two kids a decade apart! There are many times it is difficult for me to switch gears. I often find myself babying Allie if I am in that mode; there aren’t many times I go there but sometimes I just can’t switch it off which is infuriating for a girl of 16! Then there are times it is easier because Allie is such a huge help to me. I often have to remember that she is a kid herself and to let her be one.
I try to make sure that Allie is taken care of; meaning that we spend time together, I try to make sure I know what is going on in her life, I stay on top of her grades and help her when needed. But she is pretty self-sufficient most of the time. Unfortunately her dad and I take her self-sufficiency for granted. Occasionally get so used to Allie doing what she is supposed to do that when she doesn’t it throws us off a little bit. I have to remind myself, again, that she is only 16 and will make mistakes.
Bragging for a moment, because, well…she deserves it 🙂
Allie is 16 and just got her very first car! It is a 1999 Saturn, there are no bells and whistles in this thing. There are no power locks, power windows, power seats or seat warmers…it is your basic car that gets you from one place to another. She is thrilled! She loves it and couldn’t be happier to have her very own car! She is grateful for all that she has, she doesn’t ask for a lot and when I have to tell her no she tries to be understanding. Now, she is not perfect by any stretch of the word. We have had our moments of screaming, groundings, ungratefulness, disappointments and just this past week I left her at the mall for her to find her own way home (before she got her car) because of her attitude. But at the end of the day she is a pretty good kid. Allie is an excellent student, studies hard and is dedicated to her school work. She was just inducted in the BETA club at school and is pretty much a straight A student. Allie is a great employee and has been top seller in her store for the past couple of months. If she makes a commitment, she keeps it. For the most part, Allie is pretty honest but I am not unrealistic when it comes to the way a teenage brain works – ha! Allie will ask questions on how to help Jake with certain tasks, she watches me and uses the methods we have learned to work with Jake. When Allie is home, she works with Jake and helps him understand something better or works with him to help him do whatever task is on hand; by himself. She loves Jake as if he is her very own, there is nothing and I mean nothing she wouldn’t do for him. The love she has for Jake is unconditional.
When Allie hit the terrible two’s at 18 months she was a monster! She had the verbal language of a 3-year-old and would fight, throw tantrums, roll on the floor and had been known to spit on people when she was really ticked off. We worked hard to stop these behaviors and it wasn’t easy! Now looking back, I know God was preparing me for Jake. Once Allie hit 3 she was the sweetest child. She was always happy and had the best manners etc. It was like a switch flipped. We often laugh at how horrible she was between the ages 1-3. When Allie was Jake’s age, 5 years old, the girl had attitude! She was strong-willed, opinionated, she knew everything and would argue with you about the color of the sky. And here we are 11 years later and it has been one heck of a roller coaster of a ride. It is hard for me to believe she is 16 and that she will be a Junior in the fall as well as turn 17 in November. It is like someone hit the fast forward button; it is all going way too fast!!
As I sit here and think back to where Allie was 10 years ago I can’t help but wonder where Jake will be when he is his sister’s age. But that is as far as I let myself go…because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt he will be great! I used to wonder what Allie would be like when she was her brother’s (Anthony & Nathan) ages when they were 15 & 16. I didn’t know what she would be like anymore than I know what Jake will be like.
I have been blessed beyond what I deserve with all of my kids. From the moment we found out we were pregnant we called Jake our bonus baby. He is that…he is a bonus! He keeps me young, he makes me laugh and he challenges me daily to be the best mom and person I can be. All of my kids have done this; I just didn’t know I would get a 4th shot at it at this stage in my life.
Being a parent is hard whether you have typical kids or kids with special needs. The challenges of raising a child with special needs are different and at times there might be more stress but at the end of the day raising one vs the other is the same. You worry, you stress, you wonder, you hope, you cry, you smile, you dance, you get angry, you get frustrated but you love just as much!
Allie is my only girl and I prayed diligently for her! At times I think, oh Lord, why did you give me what I wanted? But seriously, she is a blessing and am glad to have another female in the house when all of the boys are together!!
Allie, I love that we have grown closer this past year. I love all of our chats, our shopping trips and of course our coffee time. I love that your faith in God is growing stronger by the day! I love how dedicated you are to your school work and your job. I just want you to know that I couldn’t do what I do without your support, your encouragement and your loving spirit! I love you sweet girl ❤
now if we can just make it through the last 2 years of high school I might just remain sane 🙂