I was twenty-four years old when my first daughter was born. She was a rite to passage, a stepping stone to being an adult, and the best thing that ever happened to me.
As my life unfolded, and two more angels came into my life, that became even more evident.
As my youngest, with autism grew, and we began our journey into the world of language and social deficits, I realized the intensity of the role that her siblings would play as we all participated on this new path together.
Through the years, the relationships changed, growing into fierce protection and advocacy, as well as social and language models on a 24 hour basis. The sisters were her warrior leaders, as well as siblings with all the normal chaos that more than one child in a home provide.
There were always family vacations, school events, and just plain hanging out at the house through the years that helped to develop a foundation and a connection between two neurotypical and one sister on the spectrum. Just sisters. In my youngest mind, they are her people, her core, and that has only increased through the years.
This is evident in the current day more than ever. On a long weekend, such as this, we have spent time with her older sister, who just had a baby, so there is much work to do. Bri loves helping her sister out, and together they tackled many chores around the house, and yet the smile never left Bri's face. She is participating on a typical level to help her sister out, yet it goes so much deeper. There is chasing, and laughing, and verbal interactions with word stems. There is the teaching of how to hold the mop, and spray the woodwork with almond scented polish. There is companionship, and productivity in a shared experience. There is life, wonderfully routine, and mundane life. Together.
Today we will visit the sister in college, and share lunch, catch up in between her studies for mid-terms. Bri participates, with excitement at going in the car, having lunch, and mostly seeing her other sister.
My heart gets to grow. I feel fulfilled in watching my three beautiful girls in their grown up lives, with the sweetest memories of days that passed so quickly, when these relationships were just beginning to unfold.