Sure, they have their daily tugs, pulls, pushes, and kicks. And there is the occasional bite. It happens.
And yet, truly, there is a deep love between the two of them.
Zane genuinely worries about Harper. He even expresses it. If we are in a store or a public place, and Harper lags behind, he demands, demands, that we stop and wait for her. He has a fear that she will somehow be left behind and that “we will lose her.” Harper, in turn, knows that she really can not even tease him by hiding while we are out and about, for he’ll break down into sobs if he thinks she has gone missing.
Harper feels her brother’s physical pain and is brought to tears when he is hurt. There have been several instances when he has fallen, or cut himself, or bumped his head, where she is right there, by his side, wanting to help and console.
Today, however, she should have been awarded a medal.
They both had their annual pediatric check-ups today. During the appointment, Harper was given the option of getting her additional Chicken Pox booster right then, or making an additional appointment to do so. She opted to wait.
Zane, on the other hand, was due for two vaccinations. He wasn’t given a choice. Today was the day. He was not happy.
Let me preface this next part by first describing our experience at Harper’s check up last year. Last year, when overtaken with anxiety, she refused to remove her clothes and change into a gown or even have the Dr. or nurse check her. Last year, when she was so “glum and vacant”, (the words we use to describe her disposition leading up to diagnosis), that she sat comatose during the entire appointment – other than during that anxiety-fueled freak-out moment over the gown and exam. Last year, when the Dr. communicated her concern, as this wasn’t the Harper she had known since birth. Last year, before therapy and medication.
Contrast last year with today, when upon realizing how scared Zane was about getting his shots, Harper willingly chose to receive her booster, before him, so that her little brother wouldn’t be the only one with a sore arm.
Dr. Goodman’s face was in joyful shock over the radical change she saw in Harper from last year to today: the smiling, the joking, how she had returned to her old conversational self – and, most especially, this specific moment where she put her pain aside in order to help her brother cope with his. Even now, I am fighting back tears as I write. Not real successfully.
There was no hesitation on Harper’s part when Dr. Goodman asked if she wouldn’t mind getting her shot today so that her brother could see her bravery and courage.
There was no hesitation as she sat strong, anticipating the prick. She didn’t make a sound other than to thank the nurse for the lollipop.
Zane went next. She was there, standing right in front of him saying, “Zane, you can do this. Don’t look at your arm. Look at me. Focus on me and your lollipop.”
Focus on me and your lollipop.
Zane said he never wants to return to “that place”. Even the visit Dunkin’ Donuts on the way home can’t take away his sore arm.
But maybe, just maybe, his big sister can.
Photo by christian svanes