Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Cerebral Palsy Awareness: A Brother's Perspective

March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness month.  I thought I would do a weekly series of posts from my family’s perspective on how Cerebral Palsy has impacted our family.  I was going to start with S and get his personal perspective on having CP and continue with me, my husband, and J throughout the month; however, S has requested that he be the last one.  He mentioned something about saving the best for last.  Without trying to inflate his ego any more, we will grant him his request.  

So, today’s post for Cerebral Palsy Awareness comes from S’s younger brother, J.  J was 2 years old when S joined our family.  

What are your earliest memories of S?
My earliest memories of S are seeing him in Minnesota with my grandparents, playing a lot in the grass in Alabama, doctor’s appointments, and running him over with the play car.

Do you remember how you liked using his walker/wheelchair/crutches when you were younger?  We allowed you to “try” them.  Were we doing the right thing by allowing that?
I do remember playing with them at the time. I liked trying these new "toys" and thought they were fun. I do think you were doing the right thing. All of these things were new and you wanted to give me an opportunity to see what it would be like to use them and what it was like to be in S's shoes. You were just giving me an opportunity that would help me in the future.

You have spent MANY hours in therapy clinics and doctor’s offices.  What are some memories you have of those visits?  
My memories of these visits were sitting in many different places playing with my (stuffed) dogs and meeting a lot of new people. I thought it was boring to sit so long and drive, but we always made it a family trip and had fun with it. I don't have great memories but I remember playing.

What are things you don’t like about S having CP?
Something I don't like about S having CP is the slowness of some things. When I was younger, I felt like it was all about him.  

What are things we have been able to do because S has CP?
Things we have been able to do because of S is meet many people, travel and being able to see things around the US, see a different perspective on life, get to the front of the line at parks, and hear stories that have helped my life.

Victory Junction Gang Camp:  Family Camp 2008

What are things other people do regarding S’s CP that you dislike?
Things other people do that I dislike is stare, talk behind our backs, make fun of S, and do things for him out of pity or look down and feel sorry for him.

How do you think S’s CP has shaped our family?
S's CP has had a great effect in shaping our family. It affects how we do things and what we can do. We have had to change how we operate and learned a lot with him.   

How do you think S’s CP has shaped him?
I think CP has shaped him a lot. This is something he has to live with and has had his whole life. So, it is how he lives and knows what to do. He rolls with it because he has had it and knows himself.

How do you think S’s CP has shaped you?
S's CP has affected me because it has given me a new perspective on life.  It has made me thankful for what I have, and it has let me learn a lot about life.

Any other thoughts?
S and I are brothers and act like brothers. We have fought and I have been jealous of the attention he has been given, but I love him.  His CP has taught me a lot, and I am thankful he is my brother.

Any words of wisdom you would like to share with other siblings?
Words of wisdom I have are love your sibling no matter what! Help when they need it but let them learn. You will learn with them. No matter how you feel, you will live with them and they are family. It will affect you, and you need to learn and grow from it. This will affect you and help you grow and become the person you are.  

Any words of wisdom you would like to share with parents of special needs children regarding their other children?
For parents, love all of your children and try to spend equal time with them all. Talk to your kids and answer questions truthfully.  When I was young, I felt like I was treated the same, but I also felt like there was less time spent with me (especially in California).  Now, I feel it's good. I think it bothered me then because I was young.  So spend time together, talk about problems openly, and learn together.

I want to thank J for volunteering to be the first one in our family to give his honest answers on his brother's Cerebral Palsy and the impact of it.

You know where to find me....on the couch with chocolate.

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