What could I tell you about young carers?
I could tell you they don’t have it particularly easy and that the journey has its ups and downs.
I could tell you of the times that Sydney gets upset when people talk to her smiley big brother in his wheelchair but don’t say hello to her.
I could tell you that she has the patience of a saint but sometimes her brother not understanding or hurting her can cause her great upset.
I could tell you of the times she has cried out of worry at Brody’s hospital appointments and how heartbreaking it is as a parent to know that she shares some of your worries, when you want to protect her from them.
I could tell you of her disappointment when we have to cut days out short because it’s just not working or when we can’t do certain things as a family.
I could tell you the absolute truth in that just a few weeks ago, at 4 years old, she told me that she wished she was disabled like Brody so I would have to help her too.
It’s just not easy for her or any super siblings.
Some days are just hard.
And the parental guilt can be all-consuming.
But I could also tell you that despite all the hard stuff, there is a lot of good. Moreso, even.
I could tell you how proud I am of her and that she is an amazing big little sister.
I could tell you that she is wise beyond her 4 years.
I could tell you that she has a connection with her brother like no other child or adult.
I could tell you of how big a help she is. That she’ll sometimes jump ahead of me on the stairs in the morning to get his changing mat and nappies. That she sings to him or blows raspberries to try and make him smile when he’s upset.
I could tell you that she’s his biggest cheerleader and is the first to tell me when she thinks he is doing something ‘new’.
I could tell you how proud she is to show him off when, on the rare occasion, I have to bring him with us to drop her off or pick her up at nursery.
I could tell you that tonight she told me as we were getting out of the car and Brody was babbling “I know what he’s saying mummy. I understand him.”
Ending with, in true Sydney style, “I’m not even kidding.”
And you know, to some extent I don’t she is.
At 4 years old we’re not far into her journey, but I can tell it’s going to be quite the experience for us all and, if we get it right, which I hope we will, she will come out of it just as awesome an adult as she is a kid. With great compassion and understanding for others. Something so many lack.
Super siblings. I hope you know how special you are. How much we love you. And just how lucky we are to have you by our side.