Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Autism Answer: A Bit about my Sister on her Birthday!

My sister is my best friend in the world. As a child I was always comparing myself to her; trying to be the same, trying to be different. I wanted to be as pretty, smart and independent but also wanted to be different and worth looking up to. 

A lot of who I am is because of the friendship I have with her. She is always there for me, flying me around the world to babysit my nieces and then paying me--as though being with her and her girls wasn't enough--, hiring me as a model (and I am no model!) so that I can make money and feel good about myself, hiring my sons as production assistants and models so that they can make money and feel good about themselves, and so much more. 

I have always tried to be there for her, as much as a big sister living three states away can be. I offer love and laughter. I believe in her, encourage her, learn from her and fully trust her. But I have often wondered, is that enough? 

Then one day as I was driving and wondering about the possible off-balance give and take in our relationship, I thought of my very challenged autistic brother, Dar. I spent plenty of years cleaning his poo, encouraging him to clean his poo, celebrating when he finally was able to properly poo, asking for language and patiently waiting, shrugging at dents in my car due to his meltdown head banging, learning how to make gluten-free dairy-free dishes (helping him comfortably poo!) that both he and my children could enjoy, driving him to doctors appointments and green card interviews. What he has given me in return is the most beautiful of smiles, delightfully delicious hugs and snuggles, displaying and inviting joy by jumping and screaming and clapping his man hands with a child's delight. And so much more!

Is that enough? My God, yes! 

When we give what we can with love and gratitude, with no strings attach, we are giving more than enough. We are giving exactly the right amount. 

So, I love my sister. She is my best friend in the world. When I wonder if I am showing her and telling her enough, Autism Answers: Yes!

Happy birthday Brandessa!!!!!
Hugs, smiles and love... 

AND lots and lots of coffee!!!!

My sister and best friend, Brandessa!
Along with her youngest daughters and one of my boys.
A most honest portrait: happily surrounded by family!