Brotherly (and Sisterly) Love
We're all different. That's obvious. But some differences are more obvious than others. I've written before how Cameron and Jordan have differences but one kid has an easier time getting the needed resources. It's tough to know what's the right or wrong thing to do as a parent. A while back, my friend Kate wrote about her daughters' invisible differences.
It's a struggle! While my kids have their individual differences, what makes it extra tricky is how they interact with each other.
Cameron has to write for ten minutes almost every school day for his English class. There are no prompts. He has to figure out a topic and write. For Cam, this is not an easy task. So if you page through his notebook, you'll see him complaining about his sister's little arm on a regular basis. I didn't expect to see that after this summer. During Camp No Limits this year, he admitted it made sense why Jordan gets extra attention because of her limb difference. As a kid, he sees most of her interactions as positive. But camp helped him better understand the cultural pressures and aggravations that can happen to a kid with one hand. But back at home, he's not quite as understanding. He still feels the need to complain. And I get it. I remember feeling deeply jealous of my brother growing up and he didn't get the kind of attention Jordan gets out in the general public.
I try as hard as I can to offer the kids time together and apart. But I honestly don't have the answers to helping them get along. Jordan is confident she's the center of the world and poor Cameron often just sighs and lets her do her thing. Other times he gets so aggravated so quickly.
I took the two out this weekend to take fall pictures with the leaves all full of color. The two are pretty tolerant of my constant hope for collecting seasonal pictures. With the bribery of snacks along a nature trail, they were kind of sweet together. They climbed hills and played. When you take them out of their regular elements, the two kids seem to get along for short bursts of time. The two have moments when they want to be giving but the other sibling is suspect. They've been mean to each other too often. And just like this photo of the two of them, often Jordan is just not really sorry about how she treats Cam. And poor Cam is tolerant considering it all.
Looking at the bigger picture, Born Just Right has helped Jordan create community and some identity... Even though she didn't need this website to make that happen. Cam is still finding his niche. He isn't a mega-athlete. He's working hard at school. He likes computers, reading, music, performing. There isn't one specific stand-out thing that he feels he can brag about. I have told him time and time again that he will find that thing he really loves to do. But when your sister is a stand-out memorable kind of kid, that leaves him feeling bitter at times. I've said this many times before... There's no book that tells you how to raise kids with limb differences and with online identities. They also don't write about the siblings growing up with a sister like Jordan. So, while Cam is still tolerant of me, I'm giving him extra time when I can. We do mornings alone before the rest of the house wakes up. We run together. I listen to way too many facts and details about Minecraft. But I won't stop. I want to be sure Cam knows he's important and loved and his identity does't have to fleshed out yet. He has time to figure it all out. No need to rush things. How do you help your kids who are not identified as part of the special needs world? I'd love to hear how other parents juggle this challenge.