Special Needs Siblings

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The “Soccer Stats” emails were starting to come out more often towards the end of the soccer season.

I did not open the emails.  To be truthful, I found them rather irksome.

Some parents shared the stat information with their sons who were players on the soccer team.  The players were then even more happy to score a goal to up their stat on a sheet.  Or to get an assist.

The players and parents were excited to have the team go undefeated throughout the regular season.  The team sat first place in the standings and got home field advantage in the playoffs.

In their playoff game they went to half time down 0-2.  The team rallied and came back to tie the game 2-2.  In OT, there was no score.  It came down to a shoot-out.

Two of our boys hit the goal post in their shots and the team lost.  The boys who hit the posts were devastated.  They each fell to the ground in tears.  We parents cheered our boys for their valiant effort, but the loss still felt sore.

For all, I guess, but me.

When the players fell to the ground in tears after they hit the goal posts in the shoot-out, I saw my son, Bobby, run out of the team line to pick them up.  To tell them it was okay and to bring them back to the team.

Bobby had a great soccer season.  He grew as a player, learning and developing new skills.  But picking up his teammates when they were down was the best skill to me.  As a player and as a person.

There was no stat for that.  He will not make it to a sheet of paper that somehow tells me what kind of soccer player he has become.

But it did solidify the person I know that he is.

Special Needs Siblings

Bobby is a special needs sibling.  He deals with a lot.  He is a part of a family that must consider different options when trying to do something “typical.”  Bobby will see things and take part in different events that his friends will not.  He is aware of the stares we sometimes get in public.

Bobby is asked to be patient or give up his TV time.  Bobby knows about different therapists and the services they provide.  Bobby knows great sensory games to play or how to apply deep pressure.

He is aware of the “special need” and can see a need in other’s.

Bobby is compassionate. 

I love to watch him hug his brother and sister.  To call Declan over to sit with him to watch TV.  He will smile and listen to Catelyn sing or tell a joke.  I love the sense of humor he has developed to always see the light in any situation.  I love to see him realize a small but significant gain in the lives of his siblings and celebrate.

And I love to see him carry those traits out into the world.  Into his school, out with his friends and on the soccer field.

Bobby is the kind of person that will sit with you on the bus if you have no one to sit with.  He is the kind of person that will play with you if you are playing alone.  In a household where there are waves of high stress, he is the kind of person to step in and help out.

And he is the kind of person that sees when another person is down and will try to pick you up.

There is no stat for that.


8 thoughts on “Special Needs Siblings

  1. I watched that game and my heart broke for those boys who felt they had failed when in fact they had played a fantastic game. But
    I shed tears when I watched my grandson, Bobby, run to his team mate to comfort him. While parents were conforting the players I wanted to cheer for the boy he is now and the man I know he will become.

  2. Wow. I love your writing, Robyn. You have a way of magnifying the personal to make a larger statement about who we are, and who we could/need to be. Nicely done.

    You are right: numbers are cold and they do not capture the complexities of human beings. Numbers attempt to standardize everyone and make them a formula – but people are unique and beautiful for that exact reason.

    Thank you for being a light in the midst of darkness.

    1. Thank you, Darryl – I love yours, too. You are very powerful with your words.
      Yes, all those numbers catch are goals or assists, but nothing about the people who scored them.
      That’s really kind – thank you!

  3. Everyone needs a friend who will pick them up when they are down. They want to be encouraged and know that everything is going to be Ok. Bobby was aware and sensitive to his friend’s pain and showed compassion when no one else made a move which he has learned from you by witnessing the way you model compassion. You are a remarkable family.

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