For a lot of high schoolers, going to college or living in an apartment of their own is a huge step to life out of their childhood home. Having a brother or sister with a disability can make that feeling even more daunting. The uncertainty of what you and your sibling’s lives ahead hold looms in your backyard. Additionally, many sibs feel as if they are being selfish taking a step back from their brother or sister. Since we have always been a primary caretaker, it feels odd to only look out for yourself.
When I first left for school, I couldn’t tell whether or not Aaron even missed me. Since Aaron cannot communicate with words, there aren’t very many cues showing whether or not he noticed I had left.
Spending weekends at home were always a great time. I enjoyed the extra time I got to spend with my buddy. However, things had changed. Aaron was into different TV shows and movies since I had left. He preferred to play the Wii over the computer. I was feeling overwhelmed that I had missed even the small parts of his life.
Besides feeling out of the loop, there’s always the big question of who will take care of Aaron when my parents are no longer able. I realized that when looking at new communities for me to live in, I was looking at things such as whether or not there were programs for people with disabilities, how good the sidewalks were, and if homes and neighborhoods were easily accessible.
Slowly I began to realize that I was trying to create my own life around Aaron, rather than Aaron’s life being around mine. In order to feel my own sense of security, I need to create my own stable new life, and find great new ways to incorporate Aaron when I am all settled in. This option creates for a much more anchored life in the future, which will put you and your sib at ease.
As for time together, there is always plenty to come. It’s okay to spend time apart and explore who you are outside of your role as a sib. It will always be a part of you. You and your sib will still have a great relationship for years to come, even if you are not around as much. They still hold a special part of your heart.