This is what I get for crawling into bed at 5:00 PM. I spent most of the day trying to deny the fact that I'm sick so the kids could go to the beach. When I got home I went straight to bed as remaining up right was increasingly difficult. Now I'm wide awake and need something to occupy me. I'm not quite well enough to tackle any housework so I'm blogging.
I've been meaning to comment a bit further on this post about siblings of children with mental illnesses. Shortly after I blogged about the story I told some friends, other moms with autistic children, about it. Their overwhelming response was that things did not have to turn out badly for the typical child(ren). A week or two later (I forget now how much time passed) one of the elders at my church commented to me about his experiences with his sibling who was mentally retarded. His message was much the same as that of the moms I mentioned the story to.
The "well sibling" syndrome does not have to be one of feeling neglected or abandoned in favour of the afflicted child. I was reminded that having someone with mental illness in the family can lead to greater compassion, strength of character, and understanding in the typical siblings. I guess it all comes down to how you choose to look at your situation and what lessons you choose to teach all of your children.
Still a daunting task to be sure but I'm glad that I was reminded of the silver lining of the cloud I was looking at. Or perhaps that it's not really a cloud at all. I suppose the next big challenge will be explaining autism to the kids. How do you explain autism to an autistic 6 year old, an autistic (almost) 5 year old, and a typical 2.5 year old? I don't think the boys realise how different they are from their peers but sooner or later Sophia might begin to realise that something is different about her brothers.
I take some comfort from the fact that others have walked the path I am on before me. I don't have to reinvent the wheel so to speak. I just have to adapt it for my particular situation.