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Guest Writer 8: Emma

Hi everyone! I hope you all are doing well and had a great week! This week I have an incredible guest writer for you all this week, and she has such an eye opening and extremely important message. I met Emma through Big Little Sister Blog's Instagram ( if you are not following it, it is @biglittlesisterblog on Instagram!), and she reached out to me and asked if she could write an entry. I am so glad she did because what she has to say is pretty amazing. Please enjoy!! I hope you all have a great week ahead!


-Alex


"“Strive for progress, not perfection” is a saying that has always been extremely relevant in my life. When you have a sibling with special needs, perfection is something you have to learn to accept you will never achieve. Your childhood will not be perfect or typical, your home life will probably be chaotic at times, and your sibling’s health may very well have it’s ups and downs. But throughout my life, I have realized that in order to live happily and help give your sibling a beautiful life, it’s not about perfection. Life is about progressing, and holding onto your support system the entire way.


My name is Emma, and I am 18 years old and a senior in high school. I am the middle of three girls, the oldest being my sister Jewell. Jewell is 22, and she was born with microcephaly, an underdeveloped cerebellum, and an undiagnosed genetic disorder. As you can probably imagine, my sister has had her fair share of struggles and countless doctors telling my parents things she would never achieve, such as walking and talking. Now, Jewell is a bright, positive young woman that can do much more than just walk and talk. I have always had such a close bond with my sister and I am so grateful for the life lessons she has taught me. Jewell is a huge social butterfly, which has had such an amazing impact on my usually shy way of life. Whenever she enters a room, her bright energy fills the space and everyone is greeted with her countless questions. Some of Jewell’s favorites to ask are “what’s your name? how’s your family doing?” and of course, “what’s for dinner?”


While living in a single-parent household with Jewell and my baby sister, I took on a parental role at a very young age. That used to be something I loved, taking care of my siblings and ensuring the happiness of others’. Of course, that is still something that I love and will always hold close to my heart. Over the past few years, I have made a huge realization about myself and my life as a sibling of someone with special needs. It is not healthy to constantly take care of everyone else if you are not giving love and attention to yourself. I know that is a tough pill to swallow for a lot of people, including myself, but it needs to be heard. When I get angry at Jewell because she’s waking the entire house up at 6 am, this is something I need to remind myself. When I am not able to hang out with my friends because I am watching Jewell so my mom can have a few hours off, I tell myself that I am doing my best and I am doing so much more than the average person does at my age. I know that when I graduate high school I need to go off and live my own life, even if it’s not revolved around my best friend, Jewell. I have felt a lot of guilt from that decision, but doing what’s best for me will strengthen our relationship and will give me so much more energy and love to share with my sister in the end.


Being a parent of a child with special needs is extremely difficult and tiring, but being a sibling is just as trying. To anyone that is in a situation similar to mine, I see you, I value you, and I recognize all of the hard work and endless amounts of love you put into this path life has given you. Making the decision to change your mindset on how you live your life and being grateful for the little things and the small glimpses of progress will keep that light shining at the end of the tunnel."


-Emma

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