Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Siblings

Playette doesn’t currently have any, but there’s always a lot of really interesting discussion going on around me about how people of all ages (must) feel about having a sibling with Ds.

Some believe it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to them. They have joy beyond measure.

While others believe that it would be a pox upon their family for generations upon generations to even consider bringing a child with such a diagnosis into their home…for the sake of their existing or future children.

Personally, I haven’t ever felt like we would or would not have more children based on Playette’s diagnosis. It simply hasn’t been a factor for me. I don’t have expectations for another child of mine to one day be her caretaker, nor have I considered that having/bringing another child into our home would one day lead to resentment of either us or their sister. I don’t know if that makes me naïve or what. I’ve always - well at least after that first year of her life - felt that Playette would be able to one day do for herself. That’s the way we raise her. As if one day she will leave our cover and be her own person.

Shoot, we've got plans for 2025 and beyond. Grown-up plans.

Sometimes I wonder if other parents look at us in shock or disdain because we don’t do more for her, physically. As a first-time parent, I’m only doing what I think is best. Which means that I’m totally winging it.

So, yeah, I ask her to do as much for herself as I believe is realistic for her at that moment in time. Maybe one day I will discover that my expectations were too high. I guess I’m willing to take that chance. Again, it’s a personal philosophy based on how I, myself, was raised, combined with the input of BD, which is based on his experiences. Those were amazingly different, so we meet somewhere in the middle and have created The Smith-Smith Way. Which includes her taking off her own clothes and putting them in the hamper. You know, do as I say, not as I do. That kinda thing. One day, she's going to notice that I'm messier than she is.

But, I digress.

My point in addressing the sibling situation is that I wanted to talk a little bit about how this article made me feel.

In a nutshell, I liked it.

Even though, at age 27, Diondra is far from being Jamie’s older sister, as the article indicates.

Plus, a video would have been awesome. If anyone sees it somewhere, please let me know.

Maybe it’s because I’ve met them both (at different times) that I feel a teensy, itty bitty connection. It just feels like they have a great relationship and I love that. When we were in San Antonio last summer, I chatted with Diondra for a bit at the dance on Saturday night. I told her how I had seen her dance in his Blame It video and on an award show and she inspires me when it comes to thinking of my daughter’s future.

I remember how she placed her hand to her chest and lowered her head in that “Oh, stop, you’re too kind” way. After stepping away, I was told by a friend that she had been chatting with Jamie via Facetime on her iPad while he was in another country filming a movie. I remember wondering what they talked about. Was she telling him what a great time she was having? (Or that she was being stalked by this one weird mom, even?) Was he telling her to live it up and that he’d see her soon?

I’ll never know.

But what I didn’t notice was resentment or any sense of one being a burden on the other.

And I appreciated that.

4 comments:

Alison said...

I love this! Maybelle is also an only child, so I don't know from personal experience, but I do think in my biased way that she'd make a great sibling for somebody (and also that she has the capacity to be a completely annoying sibling--which is, of course, part of what it means to be a sibling).

And go, you, with the high expectations. I think that's the way to do it!

Me said...

You know, Kaia has 2 siblings, and I don't really fall into either group of opinions. She definitely isn't a burden, or embarassment or horrible addition to our family because of her dx, nor are we ones that shout from the rooftops about how wonderfully she has (and will) enrich her siblings lives because of the compassion and tolerance she teaches them. In my kids' minds, Kaia is Kaia. Yes, she has Down syndrome, but she is exactly how any other sibling would be. She has the same rules to follow and is an equal part of this family. They would treat her the same, and respect her the same if she didn't have the extra chromosome. I also don't expect them to take responsiblility of her once DH and I are gone. If they want to, then that's great and wonderful, but it's not something I want to force on them. I do hope, however, that they will at least be around to support her in some aspect, but really I kinda expect that from all of them...support one another, no matter who you are or how many chromosomes you have.

And I agree with Alison, high expectations are great.

Me said...

Oh, and have I mentioned lately that Playette is too stinkin' cute for words? I know you have no pics on this post of her, but I just wanted to make that known! :)

Becca said...

Yep, Sammi is and will remain an only child. I, too, expect that she'll be able to head out on her own one day (although right now I'd love her to stay with me forever, I'm sure that will change once she hits 13...LOL). I think I'm truly in the minority, though, of being a parent with only one child, and especially with that child having Ds.