Hello! My name is Katie, I’m Michael’s older sister. I’m 14 years old and in 8th grade. When Michael and Chris were born, I was two and-a-half years old. I don’t remember meeting my brothers as babies, but in the pictures, I always look happy with them. Now, twelve years later, I still feel happy when I look at my brothers. Being their sister is amazing, but at times, difficult.
Memories of Michael’s hospital visits still make me angry and upset. One in particular comes to mind. I was staying with my aunt and uncle, but wanting Mikey to be home. My parents said he’d be home in a couple of days. One day led to the next and he was there longer than expected. I remember being on the phone with my mom and demanding to talk to the doctor. I was in second or third grade, and I just wanted everything to go back to normal. Somehow my parents got the doctor on the phone with me. He talked to me and calmed me down. He made me understand why Mikey was still in the hospital. We are so lucky that Mikey has such amazing doctors.
Since Michael has cerebral palsy, his disability has affected my family’s life tremendously. I love Michael to death, but sometimes it can be tough. All of the nurses, hospital visits, machines and making sure he is happy and healthy can be very hard on my brother, Chris and I. One thing I do when I feel overwhelmed about our house is cry. It’s lonely because no one really understands. I have great friends, but they can never know what it feels like to have a sibling with special needs. I sometimes talk to my mom, but I don’t want to get her upset about how I feel.
Mikey’s disability has also changed me for the better. I’ve learned to appreciate the little things, like hugs, kisses and words like, “I love you”, which he will never say, but shows me every day with his smiles and laughter.
One of the best things about having Mikey as my brother is when I walk into his room in the morning and he looks right at me and gives me a smile. That smile makes my day! I also enjoy how I can do something so little for him, like rubbing his head or singing to him and he will laugh his beautiful laugh, or smile at me. His happiness is contagious and it carries me through my day.
Because of Michael, I now want to be a teacher at a school like his. I like working with children who have special needs. Last year, I visited Michael’s school and helped out for the day. Seeing how amazing the teachers are and how much they can help make me realize that it’s what I want to do. Michael is one of the best things that has ever happened to me and my family. I am forever thankful for him and the lessons he teaches me every day.