If you didn’t know, I’m a big sister to a very strong, special and self-confident 14- year old boy. There is so many great things I could say about my baby brother. Recently there was an incident and how he handled it and everything that came after made me love and respect him anymore. Well, before I continue with this story there are a few things you should know about him.
Nick is 14, he’ll be 15 in a week. He has ADHD and is Autistic. Those are just facts but they do not define who he is. Growing up he has definitely struggled with making friends, being bullied and simply trying to socialize like a “normal” person. “Normal” has always been one of those words I never agreed with; who is to say what normal is?
Anyway, recently he has started cyber school. Nick was getting bullied relentlessly the past few months. Older kids were chasing him to my moms work after school, they would block his way home and force him to run in the opposite direction. Kids at his high school became way to much for him to deal with, he was begging to stay home every chance he got. The teachers and administration at his high school ignored his bullying after dozens of calls. They had labeled him a troubled kid because of the emotional/mental breakdowns he had at school sometimes. Eventually he threatened suicide if he went back.
I was devastated, Nick is a generally happy kid. He is so smart and caring. He is so smart, number and tech is his thing. It still surprises me when he can take a part a laptop or his old Xbox, put it back together and it work perfectly. Yes, he had his moments but everyone has moments where they just want to get away from everything. Over the last couple weeks he’d been getting back to his normal. Well until earlier this week.
A very ignorant (ignorant: as in lacking knowledge) family member had the audacity to say to Nick directly, “you know your mom didn’t want you when she found out you had mental problems.” Nick first met this statement will full blown tears, he didn’t speak of the situation the next day. I couldn’t believe that there were people in my own family that had the audacity to speak such words to him. My family and I heard a commotion and went to see what it was about. Nick was standing up for himself and what was being said against him and my mom. He was able to express how he felt and how the person was wrong without getting overly angry. “My mom loves me and has always loved me. It doesn’t matter what you might say about me. Just because I’m autistic doesn’t mean I’m stupid and not loved.”
I was proud, it was the first time I truly seen him stand up for himself , be confident in what he was saying, and actually believing the words that came out of his mouth. This family member felt bad for saying what he said. His intention wasn’t to hurt Nick but he did, he was only repeating something he heard someone say. But that day he learned his lesson. At first I was met with anger when I found out what was said, but I realized I couldn’t be mad for the following reasons.
- Nick was able to handle the situation perfectly. He stood up for himself.
- The person who said it, as much as he should have know better, didn’t.
- He apologized and if Nick was able to forgive him I could try to forgive him too.
That day I was so proud. I had seen something in him that made me the proudest big sister ever. The amount of confidence and self reassurance that he held in that moment was radiant. Later that night he came to my room and said, “I was just a fearless as you always are. It made me feel like Superman. Do you feel like Superwoman all the time.” I couldn’t help but smile. I turned to him and said, “no.” His smile began to fade. ” I feel like Wonder Woman, she’s super badass.” He smile grew 10 times bigger, he hugged me and left. In that moment I realized I loved him more than he knew. Nick has always dealt with so much when it came to people not understanding him or his autism but he always handled it so gracefully, he was my super hero.
If you learn anything from Nick learn that people with any disability are still people. They have feelings, they have dreams, they have goals, and they aren’t lesser in any way.