I’ve posted in the past about the special bond that James and Annie share. It’s not that Gracie doesn’t love her big sister but it’s difficult for a 2 year old to fully understand other peoples feelings and to be compassionate when that’s the time in your life when the world revolves around you. There are many times when Gracie wants to climb into my lap but has to wait her turn because her big sister is hurting and needs mommy right now. There are times when Gracie wants to go out and ride bikes but it’s too hot or cold for her big sister so we need to stay in doors. Gracie watches me feed Annie, dress Annie, carry Annie, help Annie walk and understandably, she’s confused . Brothers and sisters of children with special needs need to grow up fast and be more independent than they should have to be. Gracie has proven this theory to be true. Although she is very attached to mommy she is also very independent and has been from a very early age. I was 5 months pregnant with Gracie when Annie was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome. Gracie knows no other life than life with Rett Syndrome. As much as we try to make time for all of our children it’s a fact that Annie needs our attention much more than our other two. Of course this fact has caused friction between sisters.
Gracie has been known to take Annie’s toys away from her and even lash out by yelling and hitting her. She doesn’t like to sit next to Annie because she grabs at her and gets her “slimy” because she hand mouths. Annie doesn’t mind – she laughs when Gracie is throwing a fit and if Gracie happens to get close to her Annie will reach out to try to touch her (let me just add here that Annie doesn’t typically “reach out” there are very few things that motivate her to attempt this very difficult task). Most of the time Gracie ignores Annie and often doesn’t include her when she’s playing.
It’s painful for a parent when there doesn’t seem to be a connection between your kids. I’ve been praying that Gracie will one day come to care for Annie with a bond that only sisters can share but I’ve been patient, thinking that she will have to be much, much older to fully understand Annie’s disability and needs. Well, at the ripe age of 2 ½ God is already starting to make that prayer come true. Lately I’ve been noticing Gracie’s enormous compassion. It started as a typical 2 year old who loved to play dolls. She would hold them, feed them, rock them. Then I started noticing her attention to children who would be crying at the mall or the grocery store “baby’s crying, she needs me” – “Gracie the baby will be OK, she’s just sad but her mom is here, it’s OK”. We watch movies and if there is a baby crying Gracie runs right to the screen to try to snatch the baby out of the TV and console him. I always just thought she was nurturing.
The past few weeks Gracie’s compassion has been shifting towards Annie. I’ve witnessed Gracie bringing toys to Annie – two of them so Annie can make a choice – “Which one Annie?”.
I’ve witnessed Gracie feeding Annie a snack then turning to me and asking “Gwuten fwee mommy?” - "Yes Gracie, that's Gluten Free".
She has been helping me wash Annie’s hair in the bath and singing to her the “Princess of the Sea” song.
She has even started helping her dolls walk “Good job baby, you can do it”.
This is a 2 ½ year old baby girl. She may not know her alphabet or her numbers but she has already figured out the most important of life lessons – Serve Others. Isn’t this what we are all here for? Isn’t this what we are all called to do? Aren’t we all supposed to be the good Samaritan even when our situation looks as though we are the one in need?
How could someone so small already know what life is about?
It’s because of an Angel. An Angel named Annie that has graced us with her presence and beauty and has taught us all about compassion, love and understanding. She has so many more people to touch. I stand here in awe. In awe of my children, so young and yet so wise.
I'm sure that my kids will continue to bicker and argue and yell at each other but I've seen the bond now and I'm praying that bond grows stronger every day. I'm so thankful that they have each other. Each with their own special gifts to offer.
Praising God for all of the Angels today. How much they can teach the world about what really matters as long as we humble ourselves to learn.