Today at work, the guys and I were sharing stories from our childhoods. Stories that included siblings and the trouble, and fun times had with them. Then it hit me almost like a ton of bricks...Michael likely won't have such stories of him and Nicholas. They have a relationship of course, they are still brothers. However; theirs is a drastically different relationship than most. I found myself getting extremely sad by this fact, and just for once, wished that we had a third child. I did not wish for Nick to be something he is not, but instead, a third child. Maybe that one would have been "normal", and then Michael could share stories with his co-workers? He mentioned in passing this week that he wished Nick was not autistic. He loves his brother immensly, but dealing with Nick and his "issues" can be very hard, even for us.
I know that Nick is only four years old now, and that a lot can change in the next 14or so years. We have to face some hard realities. Nick may never be able to live by himself, may never speak much better than he does now, may never do a lot of things. I don't think about this every day of course, otherwise it could be very depressing, but every now again these thoughts creep into my mind. These are the "what if's?" we face. Michael is patient, loving, caring, and has put up with more than his share some days. He has been dragged to numerous therapy sessions, had to leave events because they were too noisy for Nick, put up with Nick rearranging the bedroom in the middle of the night, and he has done it all without question. He is such a trooper. Some days I just wish he did not have to be.