My Sister

I have a sister (2 yrs older than me) and anyone with a sister knows how is is both annoying and amazing. My relationship with my sister has always been just like any other sibling relationship. We fought growing up and had our fair share o sibling rivalry. My mom recently told me about one incident when we were quite young (young enough that I don't remember it). We were eating dinner, my sister and I were sitting on opposite sides of the table. My sister started to yank the table towards her, so I yanked it right back. This went on for a while, the two of us yanking the table back and forth. My mom was sitting there, laughing, and couldn't help but enjoy the sibling squabble that was so "normal" being displayed in front of her.

  Why would my mom be happy about a "normal" sibling squabble? Because everything else was so "abnormal". My sister has severe disabilities. She has been diagnosed with sever (like, farthest end of the spectrum you can get severe) autism, cerebral palsy, and epilepsy. As a child and teen she was very abusive (towards herself and others) and our mom was constantly covered in bruises. She actually broke our mom's cheek bone once. Many people told my parents to write her off, to put her in a special facility. They never did and never would. My parents' strength was and is superhuman. There wasn't a lot of resources then, so our mom would come up with ways to adapt things for my sister. Her innovation is incredible. My sister needed a bed that was safe, but she was too big for a crib - so my mom and dad made one out of pvc pipes to fit a twin bed. They covered the pvc in large pool noodles and then our mom hand sewed strong mesh around every side. My sister would rip the mesh almost every night and my mom would sit there and sew it back together the next day. She also came up with pj's that she couldn't get out of but buying denim vests and jeans and sewing them together with a zipper in the back to make soft denim coveralls.

Growing up, I loved my sister but man did she get on my nerves! Family outings were dictated by whether or not my sister would allow it. If she was having a bad day, we canceled. If we actually went out and then she abruptly needed to leave, we did. Growing up this was annoying and sometimes hurtful. I would be excited to be going somewhere only to have it canceled because my sister was acting up. I understood it and knew it was right to cancel but the "child" part me was angry. She still can get on my nerves. She has always loved music and needs something playing at all times. She also loves Raffi (not just any Raffi, one particular video on repeat) and prefers that be playing at all times as well. Now, in all fairness this is a major improvement. For years (I mean like 10 year strong!) she loved Barney. Yeah, I don't think I need to explain that one at all. You all are groaning right along with me. Seriously, you know it's bad when you catch your dad signing Barney songs in the shower and when you ask him about it he has no recollection of the event at all. Or when you hear it playing in the background of your dreams. Yeah that's fun, let me tell you! She is non-verbal, but very loud. The neighbors can hear her screaming with all of our doors and windows closed. I love her to death, but she can be such a pain in the butt!

I'm allowed to say that because I'm her sister. She will be 30 soon and still lives at home. She is still as loud as ever but much calmer. She seems happier, more relaxed. That makes me so happy. There are still rough days and her health is slowly getting worse with every passing year, but my family is committed to giving her the best life we possibly can.

My childhood may have been different, but I wouldn't want to have any other sibling in he world.


  1. Melinda, this made me laugh and cry at the same time! I have always been amazed with your mom and dad and you! I continue to be amazed by all of you and now I am also amazed with Mike, Kelly and Alex. Melissa is so blessed to have all of you! Love, Aunt Amy

  2. Than you :)
    I'm so glad that you found my blog, and even more so that you enjoyed it!