A Letter to My Son, Who Lives in the Shadow of Cerebral Palsy
You are a wonderful brother to Bella, even when you are being cheeky and winding her up.
You treat her exactly the same as you treat everyone else.
To you, she is no different.
I remember bringing Bella home when you were 4 years old. You suddenly looked enormous.
I remember you cuddling Bella on the bed and her throwing up all over your clothes just before you were going to a party and although you cried, you were laughing within minutes.
I vaguely remember sitting you down and explaining to you that Bella might never walk, you asked why it had happened and we couldn’t tell you.
We will never know.
You taught her how to have tea parties, you tell her off when she is bad and sometimes you get this look in your eye and I know you have found the perfect opportunity to wind her up.
I know I tell you off, but I also feel relieved that you treat her exactly how my own brothers treated me.
I know that you will always keep an eye on your sister and you are fiercely protective of her – you hate when people stare, I almost had to drag you away from a little girl in the shops only weeks ago because you wanted to tell her off for staring too long.
You love to push her in her wheelchair; you make it a fun game.
You are very helpful.
You’ve never once complained that she can’t run around with you.
I feel very guilty that I expect so much of you sometimes. I forget you are only 9.
I know you feel angry with me in the mornings when you have to get ready by yourself and I only have time to get Bella ready.
I know I seem to be constantly helping her do something and then when she has gone to bed I am so tired I am not much company.
I feel guilty that we stopped spending so much time at the park, or taking long walks, and definitely no soft play because I didn’t want Bella to feel left out, I hope you don’t feel like you have missed out.
I know sometimes you like to try and say mean things and be hurtful but it is only because you feel frustrated or left out.
I sometimes forget that Bella's Cerebral Palsy affects you as much as it affects everyone else if not more because feeling left out is one of the worst feelings in the world.
I’m so very proud of all the effort you put into your clubs and school.
You always try your best and you have so much confidence, I have no idea where is comes from but never lose it!
You are a wonderful person. I’m sorry if I say your wonderful drawing is nice but then go over the top if Bella draws a squiggle.
I know it’s not fair.
I am trying my best. I know sometimes it doesn’t seem like it but I will get better.
Bella will gain more independence, she will go to clubs of her own and we can spend more time together just you and I.
I miss you and please know that just because I spend more time with Bella doesn’t mean I love her any more – I love you both the same.
Love Mum x