I took my youngest son and one of his best friends skiing today. This friend is actually the older sister of his best friend, but over the years he has grown to love this young lady as a sister and as a friend. They chatter like friends and love like siblings.
I drove through the mountain roads listening to them talk about typical high school events and other conversation. I felt I had a privy to their unique relationship as I listened. And I gained a new perspective of seventeen year old girls that I don’t get to experience on a daily basis, though I have a seventeen year old girl.
Not only is the relationship between them so unique, but this young girl herself is unique. For seventeen she is grounded, grateful, aware, kind, funny, intelligent, loving, responsible, and so much more. The depth of their conversation about future and about choices was inspiring. My heart was so happy to know that my son can share his life with this awesome girl.
We talked about the strangeness it is to be around another seventeen year old girl. I asked him if he felt the same obviousness of his own sister’s disability. He concurred that he did.
Then, the social worker within him, asked me how that obviousness made me feel. I shared that if I allow it, I can become sad for the loss, sad for the changes our lives have had, sad for the loss of “what if”. But if I look at my girl as she is, I can allow myself to find joy in her; her coloring books, strange way of advocating, odd habits, and mostly her simplicity. He agreed.
I am grateful that he can experience this other “sister” and feel both ways of being a brother.