By Sib: Lauren Yeldell
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Wayne Dyer
I am a Sib, daughter, wife, mom, social worker, friend, and Texan. I have come to realize, that like many Sibs, I wear a lot of hats and my life is busy! I value genuine relationships and have always been inspired by the journey of others. I don’t think I would have as much gratitude for these things, if it weren’t for my older brother. He may not know this, but I know this. He may not ever return an “I love you sis,” but I will keep telling him “I love you.” My brother has raised my awareness to so many things in life especially in regards to justice, inclusion, and fairness. I may need to remind him about certain trivial routine day-to-day things but he reminds me of big-picture-life-lessons all of the time (e.g. to never give up, to treat people well, to take time to appreciate things, to be passionate about learning, etc.).
As a sister to a brother with special needs, I’ve grown up with societal experiences that illuminate ways in which people tend to focus on differences rather than similarities. In actuality my brother longs for many of the same things we all desire (e.g. companionship, fun, adventure, coffee (that’s an inside joke, we bond over our love of good coffee). We are a lot a like in many, many ways. Yet, oftentimes society doesn’t take the time to celebrate his talents and appreciate his passions.
Post motherhood, I’ve come to have direct conversations with my brother and family regarding my brother’s life. I want him to live a full life, one that affords him the opportunity to follow his passions and pursue his dreams. I’ve always wanted this for him and will continue to support this effort.
I’ve come to reflect on the shared brotherhood and sisterhood that typically developing siblings (like myself) encounter when they have a sibling with special needs. All sorts of feelings (guilt, sadness, anger, fear, anxiety) may arise when we head off to college, get married, have kids, travel, etc. There is no guide-book for Sibs on how/what to do as we grow-up with our siblings.
Several months ago, in good social work/sibling fashion, I did some research and came across The Sibling Leadership Network (SLN). My immediate impression was “I finally found my tribe!” What an amazing resource and community! I thought it would be so neat to start connecting and meeting Texas Sibs, as I’d never had the chance to connect with other Sibs. I was excited at the opportunity, and in the same manner my brother inspires me, the Sibs and Sib-supporters I’ve met thus far are all incredible individuals!
The Texas Sibling Leadership Network (TXSLN) began forming in April 2016 with plans to develop into a state chapter of the Sibling Leadership Network. We are working to create a state-wide sibling advocacy/education/support network for Sibs and Sib-supporters throughout Texas. Sibs are encouraged to come check out our local meet-ups and gain whatever experience is most helpful for them. We hope to meet you soon!
For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org! We are looking for Sib-leaders throughout Texas to host meet-ups and events!
Be sure to like TXSLN on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TXSLN/