From talent shows to sports games- I've attended them alone, more an act of self-preservation than anything.
I'm always mindful of how much my older children's lives changed, perhaps even more so than my own. Sometimes I think siblings might be the most affected of all. They defend their "weird" sibling and grimace when he speaks without a filter. They endure the constant aggravation from the sibling who invades their personal space and has no regard for their feelings. Meanwhile, their world has been nothing but showing empathy towards someone who could care less. They're almost doubly impacted because parents are stressed out, low on stamina, which leads to a short fuse and bad parenting.
Over the winter, I asked my children to write down the answer to the question:
What does it mean for you to live with autism in your family?
Here's what they wrote in their own words and, even more telling, independent of each other.
"My little brother has autism, which is a disease that makes him act different. Sometimes he is very hard to deal with and sometimes he is super sweet. For example, when I go on the trampoline with him he is so nice but when I don't he throws a fit. My mom works so hard to take care of Peter. I once told him that he was sick and that he has autism (not for the first time) and that makes him special. I truly think that he is special. Overall, it is hard, funny, weird, and exciting to live with someone who has autism." ~sister, age 8