About your brother, the Lionheart... there’s no easy way to break this to you: Travis is ‘not all there’. I’m terrified that instead of protecting you on the playground, your big brother will be the reason you’ll be teased and picked on at school. They’ll call him names like ‘retard’ and ‘moron’. They’ll say there’s probably something ‘wrong’ with you too.
I am so sorry; just the idea of this terrible burden I’ve saddled you with – before your birth, giving you no choice in the matter – it torments me so. The unfairness of it all!
How could I do this to you? I don’t have a good answer.
I once told a close friend that there are only selfish reasons for having babies. No one has a child for the child’s sake... We do it for our husbands and boyfriends, because that’s what society has taught us to do. Because we want him to have a “legacy”, whatever that means. To keep our marriages from falling apart. Or because we fell pregnant by accident. We do it for stem calls, for goodness sake! Because our biological clock is ticking! Or maybe in our case, because we want to know the joy of having a ‘normal’ baby. Or because we just need someone to look after our Lionheart when we’ve left this world!
When you’re a teenager, you’ll scream all these reasons at the top of your voice. You’ll slam your bedroom door. You will tell me you hate me. That I love Travis more than you, because he needs me more.
I know that you’ll need your dad and I more than Travis ever will! His needs are so simple. But you, my little cupcake, you’re the one who’ll need an extra helping of cuddles and compassion.
In families like ours, where one child is disabled and the other is ‘abled’ (and I bargain desperately with the Big Guy Upstairs that you will be healthy and whole, for your sake and not ours)... there is the potential that we’ll force all the hopes and dreams we had for Travis onto your tiny shoulders. You’ll need to be superhuman to stand up under the weight of our expectations.
Bump dearest, you don’t have to be superhuman. Instead, I hope that your dad and I are super-parents. That we are wise and understanding, and above all, fair... Okay, that sounds so hopelessly lame I feel compelled to roll up a magazine and thwack myself over the head with it.
Make no mistake I am petrified of the prospect of having a ‘ruggle’ (regular kid) in the family. I’m so used to Living Lionheart that I confess my memory bank of nursery rhymes and children’s games is buried under cobwebs. Be patient with me, please.
I’m glad we had this chat; I’ve been neglecting you these last few weeks.
(Feel free to kick me in the kidney.)
Love, Mom xXx