Sibling rivalry. My ex-psychiatrist once subjected me to the brutal allegation that I am victim to sibling rivalry. Of course, it seems merely amusing now, but then, it hurt me a great deal.
Yasin needs major attention – with feeding, bath-time, playing, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, aquatherapy, changing, grasping objects and other gross and fine motor skills. But somehow, I’d never resented it. I knew that Yasin needed help with lots of things that he couldn’t do for himself. I read anything I could get my hands on on the topic of cerebral palsy. I understood, and I loved him all the more for understanding. I never had any reason for resentment, because I knew that as a baby I was just as demanding as Yasin. I needed to be read to by the hour, and talked to like an adult by the hour, I asked questions every time I saw my parents, and I had a surplus of mental and physical energy.
I admit there were times when I needed attention and wasn’t given it. But, I assumed it was all part and parcel of being a special needs sister. Sure, I cried myself to sleep at night without telling my parents. It just made me overwhelmingly tough and a kick-ass sister.
Mummy and I go on special “just-us” nights at times. We pick out cute clothes for Yasin and buy a few for ourselves too. We take walks around the compound, and stop at the corner-store for ice-cream. We cuddle up on the sofa whilst I tell her about my thoughts on morality and religion and my future life as an academician. These are always nice, but I feel slightly guilty for leaving Yasin behind. So, I prefer it when we include Yasin in everything.
My mother has always made sure that we all got all the attention we needed. She talks to us about each of our special needs, and how she caters for them. So, was it possible for us to resent Yasin?
The ex-psychiatrist said, very carelessly that, “When you were a baby, you got all the attention you needed. And when your brother came along, your parent’s attention was halved. And so on.” Now, that really “got” to me. I thought, maybe he’s right. Maybe I am a selfish, pretentious, attention-seeking little brat. Then, I laughed. I saw it for the miserable, half-baked theory it was.
I am very happy now. I am lavished attention by my great pen-pal, Farah and all the characters in all the books I love. I am lucky to have them. I also have Yasin, who seeks me out for solace and comfort whenever he is frustrated. What else could I want? More attention?