There’s a Y chromosome in da house.

A boy lives here too. With all the talk of her, you may not know that or have forgotten. I don’t forget, although I’m not sure he always sees it that way. The path of a sibling is a winding one full of obstacles, sign posts pointing in weird directions and piles of challenges obscuring the view. Too often I feel like I wave him straight ahead as I shout “just stick to the path while I {{insert assorted caring and/or medical procedures here}} with her. But this kid is mostly happy to grab the back of his sisters’ wheelchair and push her on through the potholes. Not around them mind you….straight through to make her giggle.

He wasn’t always so comfortable. People stare you see. As a teenager the mortal enemy is someone taking unwanted notice of you so being gawked at by association is not cool. Strangers stopping, turning and scrutinising his sister because she happens to have wheels makes him angry and rightly so. There doesn’t seem to be an answer yet Kamahl. “Why ARE people so unkind?” The unkind public haven’t changed much(yet…it’s a work in progress) but the boy has. He has taken time and growth and the sum of his own experiences to care less what others think and stick even closer to his sister. Last year it was his turn…not that I advocate sharing in this case.  A week in hospital. Countless tests and tubes. Scary surgery. As we stood at the lift to leave the hospital he didn’t bemoan the horrible experience (which would have been quite understandable) but told me how much he had learned. Wow. And the lessons have stayed with him.

The girl has a new recreational chair which, much to her amusement, he has used a few times. Picture this: she in her wheelchair, over six foot of him folded into her other chair, side by side, her hand reaching for his, both happily watching her favourite show. Priceless. The next day a level crossing would have been handy in the kitchen as a wheelchair train came chugging (or is that giggling) on through. Visiting the park on the school holidays…she in her large new wheelchair and he pushing in a tail-wagging, green, dinosaur onesie! I have no idea who they were staring at that day. Small moments of play that may not come naturally in siblings with such differing abilities. It helps that she thinks the sun rises and sets in him and that the giant man-child had a kind and sympathetic heart. Our night time routine would not be complete without his visit to her room to say goodnight. She may not speak but they share knowing glances about the crazy mother they both have to endure.

The boy is considered, as a sibling, a young carer. He is exposed to increased levels of stress and has a clearer understanding of  medical terminology than most adults. He witnesses the unfair divide between those who can and those who cannot. But he sees great joy and humour in his journey too. His experience of the human condition is laced with understanding, empathy and acceptance. He drives a wheelchair like Speedy Gonzales and she loves him for it. To her he’s just a brother and that is ace.



4 thoughts on “There’s a Y chromosome in da house.

  1. Pingback: The Big Boy | sunshine in puddles

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