Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

DSAM17 – Day 2 – On being a sister

on October 2, 2017

When Ellie cries (which is pretty often), Tessa seeks her out, rubs her back, and tells her it is going to be ok.  She’s not particularly good at helping clean up the playroom, but she lets Ellie boss her around, sitting through book after book and lesson after lesson in their pretend school.

(We never worry about reinforcing school at home because Ellie is ON IT.)

Tessa and Ellie argue, but Tessa is quick to apologize.  She is the only person who can wake Ellie in the morning without being scolded.  She is gentle and patient when we are not.

With Lauren, she is loving and protective.  She comes to find me if Lauren needs something.  “Mom, Warren spit up.”  “Mom, Warren hungry.”  “Mom, I hold Warren please?”  She adores her.

I wasn’t sure how Tessa would interact with her siblings.  At her birth, I became quite fixated on the relationship that she would have with Ellie.  The moments in which I am the most overwhelmed are always when I feel like I am failing both girls by not being able to meet either of their emotional needs.  From day one of her life, I worried that Tessa would consume me in a way that left little for her sister – and that her sister, in return, would be jealous at best.

What I have found instead is that when my heart is pulled more to one child or the other, so too is theirs.  Ellie knows when Tessa needs more, and she gives more in those moments.  Tessa does the same.  Is there jealousy or sadness, irritation, frustration?  Of course. But overwhelmingly, they care for each other.  Down syndrome is there, in the background, but their relationship has nothing to do with that one extra chromosome that makes Tessa different and everything to do with the other 46 that they have more in common.

So surprise, healthy sibling relationships are not out of the question.  Like all relationships, they have to be nurtured and cared for, but have no doubt that there’s a whole lot of sister-ing going on in this house. 

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