Thursday, October 5, 2017

Brotherly Love

Ah, brotherly love . . . who can't relate to the bottom photo on this layout? There's nothing quite like the relationship between siblings. One minute you're best friends, and the next you want to strangle your brother or sister!

Caleb and Zach have an extremely close relationship. They are best friends! When Caleb was first diagnosed, and we realized how much help he would need with everything, we worried about the dynamic between brothers. We were concerned that Zach might resent all the attention Caleb would get just simply on the basis he needed it. To add insult to injury, Dave and I were encouraged not to have any more children because SMA is a genetic disorder. 

While we know many families that have gone on to have additional children - some completely healthy, other affected with SMA - we made the decision not to have any more kids. I was heart broken at first, but when we realized that Zachary had some special needs of his own that completely differed from Caleb's needs, I learned to be content with two children!

Once I realized that raising two special needs children was an overwhelming responsibility, I began to worry about the dynamics between our two boys. I read articles and books written by people who had disabled siblings. I talked to other families in similar situations to ours. I applied things I would hear Dr. Phil say to families he had on his show. I was eager for any and all information about family dynamics. 

While I was busy worrying, the boys were busy growing up and becoming friends. They had each other's back. Their relationship developed "normally" in spite of their disabilities. I worried for no reason! I wasted time and energy on research when I could have been enjoying my boys and praying about things. 

Dave and I agreed to not ask Zachary to help Caleb every time he needed it. We didn't want Zach to feel that he was Caleb's servant. However, we began to notice that Zach had no problem helping Caleb completely unprompted. Sometimes Caleb would ask for help and Zach was only too happy to oblige. (Look back at my Popcorny post to see to what lengths Zach would go for his brother!) I will admit though, that as Zach gets older, I do ask him to help Caleb more often, and Zach does not resent it. Caleb's disability is all he knows. Caleb also has learned that he can take advantage of his little brother and Zach has learned it is ok to tell his brother, "No!"

In an attempt to give each child our full attention, Dave and I tried to take each boy out for one-on-one time. Zach loved to play on playgrounds and Caleb couldn't do that. So Dave might take Zach out to McDonald's to play in the play yard or go to a park, while I did something special with Caleb. Sometimes Caleb needed time doing "guy stuff" with Daddy, so Dave and Caleb would go off while I might watch a movie with Zach. It's harder now that they are older, but I still try to have Mommy/Caleb and Mommy/Zach dates that are catered to their individual abilities and tastes.

So in spite of having a major disability, the death of their dad, mom remarrying and becoming part of a blended family, my boys are close. I love to watch their relationship grow and just marvel at how loving and protective they are of each other . . . at least most of the time!

Scrapbooking Tips:

I originally did this layout for a magazine submission which was later published in Scrapbook Generation's Create. I followed a sketch and added my own flair to it! I put the layout together completely using scraps I had laying around in my stash. I looked for bright colors that would match the boys' shirts. I needed the bright yellow letters to stand out against the colorful background.

I used scraps of paper and Banner Triplit Dies from the Stamps of Life to create the banner detail in the upper right corner.

I used white buttons to add some dimension to my layout, but they looked a little plain, so I cut hexagons out of some patterned paper and adhered them for some color. 

To give the journaling spot some character, I created a tag out lined paper. A twine bow added more dimension and texture. 

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