The greatest gift we gave our (autistic) son is his sister.

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I read somewhere recently that the greatest gift you can give a child is a sibling. Without a doubt, the greatest gift we gave our son is his little sister. You have to live with us to fully understand and see for yourself the many, many ways that Maria has helped, and keeps on helping, her brother. She helps him with everything. I’ve written before how I feel guilty sometimes that our different home situation may be stressful for her at times, but then I think about how much she loves her brother, and shows it, and all that guilt just goes magically away. She’s my rock, she really is. Today as I turned to look at them sitting on the couch watching TV Maria returns my gaze and says” Look mama, Panayioti is sitting with me” and her face just lit up. She loves it when her brother lets her hug and kiss him and hold his hand. She wants to play with him constantly, so much so that her 2 1/2 year old mind can’t comprehend sometimes that he just doesn’t and then she hangs her head low and pouts her lips. But then, with a gentle push from me Panayioti is back in  her arms and she’s all smiles.

Today she asked me where her Panayioti is (that’s what she calls him: her Panayioti). He’s out with baba I answered. Where’s my baba?, she asked. Baba went out for a little bit with Panayioti Maria mou I answered with a smile. And then then next question left me dumbfounded. “Where’s your baba?” See, my baba (dad in Greek) passed away when I was 7 months pregnant with Maria and Easter is always just a little bit rough on me since we always went up to the village to spend our Easters with him. “He’s up in heaven Maria, high up in the sky” I said and I pointed to the sky from our window. “I can’t see him” she replied 🙂 She floored me. Her truth, her insight, her words. Having a non-verbal child who has such a hard time communicating and feeling so helpless and frustrated as a parent and then hearing these words from your typical child . . .  what can I say? Kids make our world better.

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