First, Eli is improving every day. Every day we can tell he is less frightened for the safety of his new legs. Every day he is even more brave than the day before. And, every day his smile is even bigger.
Now for the reason for this particular post.
The focus of this blog is the extraordinary Elijah Ramirez. But behind every extraordinary little boy there is an extraordinary sibling shining through...okay maybe not behind EVERY extraordinary little boy, but behind this one for sure.
Elijah's Granna wrote about Sophia and her part in Elijah's magnificent journey. Her words made me realize that Sophia is my hero. She is the most unselfish and kind human being I know. She cares for her brother more than anything in the world. She is also extraordinary in her own, unique right!
By Anna Ramirez on August 6, 2010
For the first three years of my life I was an only child. Perhaps I felt entitled and was spoiled a little. I can imagine that my parent’s world revolved around me and making sure I was given every little thing I could want.
Then, suddenly, I was no longer the only apple of their eye. Or maybe I remained the apple and along came a chocolate covered donut. Whatever, everything changed. I had a little sister.
If I could tell the story I want to tell, I would present myself as the most adoring, welcoming, gentle sister this child could ever want. Instead, I have come to realize that I was annoying, jealous, mean, selfish, and resentful. In the beginning it was probably to be expected. After all, once you’ve been adored as I was, it’s hard to find a new place of recognition outside the spotlight.
To add to the challenges I was facing as an older sister, SHE was pretty sick. SHE needed lots of time and attention and they even left me with “people” to rush her to the doctor. SHE needed lots of medicine and breathing treatments and special things to eat. SHE didn’t have to eat some things because SHE was “allergic”. (I learned the word early on but it took a while to know what it meant. To me, it only meant SHE was very special.)
I’d like to say that as I got older and understood more that I understood more. Actually, I refused to understand and made some really manageable mole hills into mountains. It took 50 years for me to give it up and that is when SHE became my best friend. We talk every day. SHE knows all my secrets and SHE tells me when to back off or step up. SHE knows my history and where I’m coming from, fundamentally.
Today, I’m a better, older sister.
My granddaughter is an older sister and I have kept a close eye on her for eight years now. I don’t live close enough to be in her daily life but I know what to look for when we’re together. When she was five (many more years than I had to be entitled) she was given a little brother. And, he was, is, very special. He was born with a genetic make up that affected his whole life. He’s never known a day without challenge and he has learned to do some amazing things with his limited abilities. Wow, did my granddaughter ever get slammed with challenges to her older sister status.
How’s she done? She is exceptional, somewhat typical, but never resentful, selfish or mean. Oh, God. How good you are to show this child how important she is in the life of her little brother and her Mom and Dad. Together they work so hard to make their family all it can be with all the challenges they have.
When baby brother was being wheeled down the hall for surgery, this little older sister climbed up on the rails of his bed and whispered, “Don’t worry. I will never leave you. I’ll be right here.”
No one could love a little brother more than she does. She is so patient with all that comes with meeting his needs and even though it’s hard at times, she still lets him be part of her neighborhood “club”. All her friends make sure he’s right there when they play. She defends him when ignorant people ask thoughtless questions and she’s become compassionate in ways no eight year old should have to understand. She’s brave and funny and teaches us all how not to be afraid. After all, this is just her little brother.
Wish she had been around when I got my little sister. I bet my little sister does too.