On that very first night, the first of many long, sleepless, tear-filled nights after Boo was diagnosed with autism, I turned to The Husband and admitted something I hadn't wanted to admit before.
"We are really, really going to need Cheryl," I said.
Cheryl is The Husband's cousin. And even though nearly two decades separate them in age, she and our daughter Betty have more in common than some shared genetics.
They both have brothers who have autism.
Over the years, I have come to admire and respect and understand Cheryl in a way that I never, ever imagined. And I've come to feel grateful and appreciative that Cheryl is there for Betty now and will be there for Betty in the future.
These are rocky times in Betty and Boo's sibling relationship, but Cheryl gives me hope in so many ways that everything might just turn out to be OK. Because with the gift that is time, Cheryl herself has turned out to be more than OK.
Cheryl and her brother Adam, are profiled in the Courier-Post (Southern New Jersey) newspaper today, in this gracious and sensitive article by Kim Mulford discussing adult siblings preparing to assume the care of their brothers or sisters with special needs.
Cheryl Resnick was perhaps 7 or 8 years old when she suddenly piped up from the back seat of the family car.Read more from "Lifelong commitment: many adults are woefully unprepared to assume care for disabled siblings" here.
“Mommy, I want you to know it’s OK,” she told her mother, Ilene Resnick. “When Mommy and Daddy die, I’m going to take care of Adam.”
photo of bird's nest taken by me, September 2012
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