I remember siting down with our two older children and telling them that their baby brother would be different.
Emmett has Autism.A year later we sat down again we told them he not only has Autism but he also has Fragile X Syndrome, Epilepsy, Sensory Processing Disorder and Intellectual disability.
They seem to understand and did not have any questions at that specific moment.
We made it very clear that we would be honest and answer any questions they had in the future.
Why doesn't my brother talk?
Will he ever talk?
Will he ever have a conversation with me?
Why doesn't he play?
Why doesn't he like to be hugged?
Why doesn't he give us a kiss back?
Why does he have so many appointments?
So many questions and no specific answers.
Why does he take medicine everyday?
Why does he go out of town for his appointments?
Will he ever go to the same school as me?
Why doesn't he turn when I call his name?
Will he ever ride a bike?
When I was Emmett's age did I do that to?
Every time I get one of these questions I get a knot in my throat my eyes fill with tears as I search for the right thing to say.
Their is no manual for this stuff.
I answer their question with a "maybe he will one day" or
"your brother is different than anyone else therefore he does things at his own pace".
Why Emmett is so different?
Why our life is so full of the unknown.
We all don't know what the future looks like for Emmett, and it's difficult to digest.
They see kids in the playground half the age of Emmett doing so many things that they learn naturally. Sometimes they see other kids on the Autism Spectrum more high functioning than Emmett and wonder why their brother is not like them.
It's difficult for them to see their brother working months and years to accomplish the same things other children are doing.
I see their little eyes looking at them and filling up with tears, and then looking away pretending not to see them.
Then as we get in the car I get those comments "wow did you see the kid he was talking to other kids?" or "wow did you see the kid playing with the toy so nicely how did he learn that?".
It's painful to see them discovering the special needs world, but it's also amazing to see them appreciate all the little things in life.
They don't take anything for granted, they acknowledge every little thing Emmett learns with such happiness.
They know how hard his brother works everyday and they thank him for it.
The love for their brother is unconditional, they want the same thing for their brother as everyone one else.
They want him to be included in society, and for him to be happy.