Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

A letter to my son . . . a thank you letter to my son,

Being an older brother to a sibling with severe autism has not always been easy. It’s a job you never asked for but you took it in stride. At times it was a very difficult job, and that is putting it mildly. 

Thank you for loving your little sister wholeheartedly. You were her light in the darkest of times. When her life was filled with sensory overload, and nothing made sense to her little body, and she was completely overwhelmed by our world. When she would lash out and hurt you just for saying my name, and I would have to send you out of the room for your safety.

You never got mad at her and always adored her. 

Thank you for letting her follow you around and always being there to hug her and tickle her . . . whatever made her happy. For getting down on the floor with her and playing her way. For connecting with her in any way you could.

Thank you for being a loyal big brother and always protecting her when others had no understanding of autism. For loving her and trying to reach her even when she seemed unreachable. For never giving up and for understanding that her brain worked differently and that it wasn’t her fault. 

How could you understand this at five years old? I don’t know how but you did. You never stayed mad or blamed her.

RELATED: Dear Sibling of a Special Needs Child, Your Heart is Full of Beauty

Thank you for being the happiest, easiest going little boy when my heart was breaking into pieces trying to come to grips with a life-altering diagnosis. For sitting with early intervention and helping them engage with her. For understanding that we couldn’t go to playdates because her behavior was so unpredictable

For sometimes being disappointed but never taking it out on her. For understanding how much extra care and supervision she needed and never complaining.

Thank you for going along with me when I needed that picture,  you know the ones where you had to smile for 15 minutes while I chased her and all but wrestled her down. 

Thank you for holding her tight, so I could get that picture while she would be trying to push you away, kick, or roll over you. You took it in stride 

You couldn’t have known how much it meant to me to get that picture. I just wanted a picture of my two beautiful children. I needed some kind of normalcy even though it was anything but.

There are a thousand examples of how things went awry, things you lost out on, gave up, had to leave in the middle of. And yes it was disappointing at times, but your love for her, your connection never wavered.

I tried my hardest to make it up to you. I tried to spend alone time with you, have others take you so you could get a break, bring you places, spoil you. You had every video game and Pokémon card that could be bought.

Your nana, your grandparents, and aunties saw it too, and they tried to make it up to you too. I am forever grateful for that as well

But how can you make up for a lost childhood, for having to grow up too fast? You can’t. 

I felt torn in two at times. My love for both of you so strong, but her needs surpassed yours, and there was nothing I could do to change that, 

And then came your sisters two girls, two years apart—a whirlwind you could say. Again you stepped up. Thank you. Thank you for bottle holding, baby loving, and all the madness that went along with it. And then things got better a little easier, and you got to be a different kind of big brother. 

RELATED: The Sibling of a Child With Special Needs is Forced to Grow Up Faster

I read about siblings of special needs children, they are sometimes referred to as glass children. I thought that made sense because you become so strong but are also fragile  That is not the meaning of a glass child though. It means that parents are so consumed with the special needs child that they look right through you and don’t even see you, as if you are a piece of glass.

I immediately thought did I do that!? Did you feel invisible like you didn’t matter? I have handled a lot, but this I didn’t think I can handle.  My mama guilt was coming on full force, and I already have so much already. 

So I came to you and asked you. Looking you right in the eye as I tried to hide the fact my heart was shattering again even considering this.

I asked you to be honest, I needed to know.

You told me that you felt like you missed out on opportunities you could have had. If it wasn’t for having a sister with special needs, that your life would have been different.

I know this to be true, but it still hurt so much to hear.  

But you went on to say that it was OK and it’s not her fault and it’s not my fault, it’s just what is. Thank you for that grace.

I cry as I type this because it feels like an impossible job to be pulled into all different directions for all these years and feeling that I didn’t get it right. There is no easy answer.

But today it doesn’t matter to you. Today you just love her for who she is just like always. Today you make time to hug her to make her laugh. Thank you for that.

I know you don’t need thanks or even expect it, but you sure deserve it. 

I am sorry I couldn’t always be the mother I wanted to be for you, that I was pulled into the uncharted waters of having a child with a disability, and some days I could barely keep my head above water. Thank you for being my life raft even though that was not supposed to be your job. 

RELATED: An Open Letter to the Special Needs Sibling

I know this has made you stronger and more compassionate, you are a better person for loving her, for having her in your life.

When I called you and asked if you would be willing to be her guardian if anything ever happened to me or Dad, and you laughed because you didn’t understand why it was even a question, you made it seem like I was asking for something so minor. 

Thank you for being the best big brother she could of ever have.

The best son I could have asked for, and I love you more than you’ll ever know. 


Originally published on the author’s Facebook page

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Kimberly McIsaac

Kim McIsaac resides in Massachusetts with her husband and four children. Her passions are writing, advocating, spreading autism awareness, and spending time at the beach. She blogs about all things autism and following her daughter's journey on Facebook.

You’re Learning Life by Watching Me

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child touching mother's face as they lie on a bed

Every morning my daughter and I go outside for some fresh air. She feeds her chickens and plays and explores and walks around with her dog while I follow her around and have a cup of coffee.  This morning, my girl grabbed one of her coffee cups from her toy kitchen and brought it outside with her while she walked with her dog and pretended to take sips out of it.  Guys. I stood there watching her with her toy coffee cup, walking around with her animals, and I cried giant baby tears.  RELATED: I Wasn’t Counting On You Growing...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Love Means Slowing Down

In: Friendship, Kids
Two boys on bicycles riding to park, shown from behind

Think of something faster than a 7-year-old boy on a two-wheel bike. Maybe a race car at the drop of the checkered flag? Perhaps a rocket ship blasting into space? Or how quickly a toddler mom books it out of the house after being told she can have a hands-free hour ALONE in Target. Yes, all of these things are seriously speedy, but I have still never seen anything quite as quick as a boy on a bike on a sunny day with endless open track ahead of him. Until today. Today, my 6-year-old son wanted to ride bikes with...

Keep Reading

I Am a Wrestling Mom

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three young boys with wrestling medals, color photo

As the sun is rising on a frigid winter morning, a brave and determined group of athletes are weighing in at a high school gym. They are physically and mentally preparing for a long day spent at a tournament where they will spend only minutes wrestling, despite the hours they sit and wait all day. Their sport uses offense, defense, and mental strength unlike any other sport. My sons and nephew are wrestlers. They are part of a special team of athletes who work together but compete as individuals.           Their youth team is run by all volunteer coaches with...

Keep Reading

3 Ways to Help Your Firstborn Embrace Becoming a Big Brother

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
Pregnant woman holding toddler son, color photo

My oldest son turned four right after his first brother was born. Four years of alone time with his parents. Four years of extra mommy time during the week. Four years of having toys to himself, extra attention from family members, and more. I didn’t plan a four-year age gap; it took our family a lot longer and a lot more help than we expected to have our second son, but age gaps aren’t everything. When my second son was finally on the way, I heard a lot of opinions about how our oldest son would feel once he finally...

Keep Reading

Dear Busy Sports Mom: It’s Worth It

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Mom watching soccer game, photo from behind

My daughter stands on the front porch every morning and waves goodbye to me as I pull out of the driveway to go to work.  She is 11, and recently eye-rolling, long sighs, and tears have become more commonplace in our daily interactions. But, there is also this: “Bye! Have a good day!” she calls to me in the quiet of early morning, neighbors not yet awake in their still dark houses. “You are AMAZING! You got this!” she continues in her little adult voice, sounding more like a soccer mom than a fifth grader.   Her hair is still a...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the Baby Hangers

In: Kids, Motherhood
Shirt hanging from small hanger, color photo

You bought them when you first found out you were pregnant. It may have been one of the first items, actually, to hold all of the precious new clothes. The smallest ones in your household. Do you remember that first newborn onesie you bought? It was one of your favorites. You couldn’t fathom you would soon hold something so small that would fit into that onesie. You washed all of the new clothing in preparation and hung them up in your baby’s closet. You know the item. A miniature version of the ones in your closet. Baby hangers. “Do we...

Keep Reading

Take the Trip, You Won’t Regret It

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood

Two years ago, in the middle of a snowy, windy, Colorado March, my husband and I made the spontaneous decision to road trip to Arizona with our three very young kids.  Even though I was excited, the nerves were so very real. Over the next couple of weeks, I literally lost sleep worrying about the logistics of our trip. My late-night mindless scrolling was replaced by searches like “traveling with toddlers” and “keeping kids entertained on road trips”. We already had our hands full chasing kids at home in a familiar setting. Were we crazy to think we could just...

Keep Reading

They’ll Remember the Love Most of All

In: Kids, Motherhood
Woman with kids from above, pregnant mother with kids hands on belly

You lie in bed at the end of a long day, the events of the day flashing back through your mind. You do this a lot—recap your day as a mama. How did you do? Did you maintain your patience? Did you play enough? Did you limit screen time? Did you yell less today than you did yesterday? You saw a really neat toddler activity in the group you’re a part of on Facebook . . . you should have done that with the kids. They would have loved it. There wasn’t enough time though, and you didn’t have all...

Keep Reading

He’s Slowly Walking Away with Footprints As Big As Mine

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Teen boy walking along beach shore

The true measure of a mother’s love is her willingness to wake up before the sun on vacation. On a recent trip to the shore, my youngest son begged to walk the beach at dawn to look for shells. So, I set my alarm, tumbled out of a warm, king-sized bed with extra squishy pillows, glared at my dead-to-the-world husband, and gently woke my 11-year-old. Without so much as a drop of coffee, we headed out into the morning, the sun still below the ocean horizon. With each step, I shed my zombie-like state and took in the quiet, salt-kissed...

Keep Reading

Dear Son, Raising You Right Is Worth It

In: Kids, Motherhood
little boy walking in sunlit field

You were the baby who slept nights. You were the infant who quietly stacked blocks one on top of the other. You were the toddler who watched other kids go down the slide at the park 20 times before attempting it yourself. You were the preschooler who hunkered down quietly and patiently when meeting your grandmother’s chickens. So I assumed you would be a gentle boy. And you are.   And yet, now that you’re eight, I’m beginning to understand the meaning of the phrase, “Boys will be boys.” I had my first inkling that day when you were five...

Keep Reading