I put out the last call for submissions in the Autism Awareness Month project at Find My Eyes to get one last fan post. The author of a previous post messaged me back with:
Are you interested in a perspective of a sibling? I can ask my daughter who is 25 what autism means to her?
I have never met Briana, never even exchanged phone calls, and she wrote this for us. We are all truly blessed for it.
There is a lot of worry, both by and for "siblings of the spectrum". This amazing young lady (25) shared her journey with us.
I have no more words to describe how special this post is to me, and to our project.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am truly blessed to present Briana...
When my mother asked me to write this article for her favorite blog I honestly wasn't sure what to write. Should I write a series of funny stories about how I've found him on our roof at 3 am after coming home from being out all night (relax mothers I'm 25), how he has gone in cahoots with his other siblings to drive my Chevy blazer into a tree, paint the fender and bumper pink and the tires white, how I've almost plummeted to my death (no, in all seriousness, legit almost died) because he left the opening to the attic open and our obese cats wandered in there and I had to walk across beams in the attic to get them out and fell nearly catching myself as I watched pieces of plaster drop to the floor of the garage (first world problems)...obviously the list goes on with fun stories. At the end of the day they all just become funny stories, memories to revel in and laugh at later but while in the moment, I've contemplated throwing them in front of a bus.
Then there are also the private moments that are rough and mentally draining. It's like one of the moments when you look up to the sky and shout IS THIS A JOKE?! Then you remember that this is real life, this is my life, when I have a sibling on the spectrum. He had a bad day at school and he is so anxious and introverted he doesn't know how to deal with all these emotions so he reverts back to child like behavior. He will urinate and poop on my floor, in my bookcase, on my comforter...basically everywhere but a flippin' toilet. But that's ok because it can be cleaned and things can be wiped down and my bedding can be washed and then within a few hours it's all back to normal. Well for at least an hour.
So he likes to scale buildings, explore places he should not be, get construction magazines mailed to our house so he can look at the pictures, poop on your (ok, my) bedding, drink ten cups of milk before bed and watch operation repo. He's a normal boy who likes to wrestle and play video games and he has a heart of gold and funny dumb things to tell you that make you look at him and laugh and no matter what HE IS STILL MY BROTHER. And no matter how many times he shits in my room I will always love him. (I will love him even more after he cleans that shit up).
And I know, that since I am the oldest child, I will take care of him if something happens to my mom. This is a daunting, scary possibility. I hope that I will be able to handle it gracefully and patiently. And of course, there will be some humor involved. I have told my mother, that no matter what, she should not worry, I have his back. He is my brother.
So as you can tell, when you grow up with a child on the spectrum, it affects the whole family, not just the parents but it is also draining on the siblings. I think that the hardest part on this journey goes back to my sophomore year in high school, my mother was so wrapped up in the diagnosis, that she accidentally forgot my birthday. I was a swimmer in high school, she went to pick me up after practice. I got in the car with a handful of balloons, and she said to me “What are those for?” “Did you break another personal record?” I said no “Mom, it’s my birthday. “ But you see, that is life with a sibling on the spectrum. It is not that she loved me any less, but he needed her more.
Ed. Note - Thank you, Briana and Maria. Thank you.