When they told me Karan had autism … I didn’t know what it meant. I was only 13-years-old and they could’ve been telling me he was left-handed for all I knew (Karan seems to be ambidextrous though). Even months later, it didn’t make much sense to me. All I knew was: he was different.
I resented it for a while. I had been the only child in the house till I was 9. Then a new baby came in and it seemed as though he never grew up; he never moved on from being a child who needed constant attention. At the age of 13, which is when he was diagnosed, it was as if I was told: ‘Hey, you had your Mom till you were 9. That’s it. She can’t pay attention to you anymore.’ Instead of Karan growing up and Mom giving both of us some attention, I felt then, wrongly, that it was all about him and I didn’t matter anymore.
The resentment lasted a few months, sadly enough. I wish it had never been there, but there you go. I grew up in some aspects faster than I should have I think, had he not been autistic.
There isn’t anything of the sort now. Karan is my darling, the apple of my eye.
It’s hard enough as it is for a kid for deal with the arrival of a new baby in the family – it means you’re not the baby of the house anymore. Handling a sibling with some kind of special needs is a slightly different ball game. I think it depends on how you’ve been brought up, as well as your individual desire to be a part of your sibling’s life.
I must confess, I wanted a sister when my mother was pregnant. I got a brother. I imagined a brother with whom I’d have stupid fights. Instead, I got a brother who is intent on picking up my stuff and breaking them.
You know what?
I wouldn’t have it any different. I know better now.