Monday, August 20, 2012

The Talk

Sooner or later some of us will have to have "the talk" with our children. And no, I'm not talking about the birds and the bees. I'm talking about the talk that we parents have to have with our typical children regarding the care of their sibling with special needs. Frankly, I think the birds and the bees talk is easier.

I don't know what possessed me to do this, but a while back I stumbled into a conversation with my oldest son (who has Asperger's Syndrome) about the differences between him and his brother (who has moderate disabilities resulting from a neonatal brain hemorrhage). The conversation went along the lines of him complaining about something that wasn't fair. I pointed out to him that his brother was unable to do many of the things that he took for granted: riding a bike or a scooter in the neighborhood, shopping with his allowance money. I then steered the conversation to the future. I said, "You know, your brother's life will look alot different from yours. You will probably drive a car, go to college, get a job and live on your own. Your brother won't. In all likelihood, he will live in some type of care home or group home after Daddy and I pass on. You have to promise me that you won't forget your brother. Promise me that you will always look out for him." He said, "I will, Mom. I promise I won't forget my brother."

That's a pretty heavy load to lay on a 12 year-old and I'm not for certain that he understood the full extent of what he was promising. I'm also positive that we will have to revisit this conversation more than once. It's an awkward but necessary conversation to have. Since I know that my youngest son will need some form of care and supervision for the rest of his life it's imperative that he has a family member who will look out for his best interests. Make no mistake, I want him to live at home with me and my husband for as long as he can, God willing. However, we're not getting any younger.

Ideally, my husband and I would like to be in a position to help select the group home while we're still living rather than have a social worker place him after we've died. Personally, I feel it would be less traumatic for everyone if we were able to ease my younger son into the transition. I'm thinking about this more and more as the boys get older. Tomorrow begins a new school year: my oldest son will start 7th grade and my youngest son will be in 5th grade. Some say that I have a while to go before I have to make any decisions, but, really, time flies by. The boys will be out of high school and into adulthood before I know it.

So, in addition to the birds and the bees we also have to talk about family responsibilities. Of course, I really don't want my oldest son to look after his younger brother because it's merely his duty or his responsibility. I hope he does it out of concern and love for his brother. One can dream.

"He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?”declares the Lord. Jeremiah 22:16

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...