Wednesday, January 23, 2008
My oldest son, Chip, is the most amazing big brother there ever was, especially to his sister, Ashley. For example, yesterday I wanted to attend Chancellor’s funeral but it meant I would not be at home when it was time to administer Ashley’s nighttime medications. I had someone staying with Ashley, but it was someone who was not familiar with Ashley’s meds or using her G-tube. Because Chip has done meds through the G-tube previously, I asked him if he would do it again. He immediately said yes. He got the right mixtures of medications, some crushed and mixed with water, some liquid, and when it was time for Ashley to go to bed, he laid her down, hooked up to her G-tube, and squirted all the meds into her stomach. And that is just one small example of how he loves and takes care of his sister.
From the time we adopted Ashley, Chip has been her protector. When she is sick or having a seizure, I know he is close by monitoring what is happening. He will go into her room at night after she has gone to sleep and pull her blanket up around her. Every cold morning, he helps her zip up her jacket, a task impossible for me to do because of my painful arthritis. He tells her she has to wear her hat at least until she gets on the school bus, and when in our car, he always makes sure she is buckled up.
Chip is also Ashley’s buddy, always pushing her to try new things and hone all her abilities. He is the reason she loves riding roller coasters at the amusement parks. He will sit for ours and play video games while she watches, her face just inches from the TV. He makes sure to TIVO all the TV shows she loves to watch, and on every trip to the Goodwill Store, he buys her used video tapes he thinks she may enjoy. He loves to play race car with her while she is in her wheel chair, and her giggles can be heard for blocks as he tilts and turns her, scaring me to death in the process.
Chip is the one to remind me that not every thing in life has to be a learning experience. When I was working with Ash on her A-B-Cs using her alphabet spaghettios at lunch one day, he reminded me that eating should be a pleasurable experience not a school task. He has spent many nights sleeping in hospital waiting rooms with me as we wait for a report on Ashley’s health, and he was the one to ride in the ambulance with her the Christmas of 1998 when we almost lost her to a status seizure. And lest you are starting to think he is perfect, the science fair experiment should persuade you otherwise. When Chip was in the second grade, he wanted to use his sister for the science fair. He wanted to feed her different colored drinks by mouth to see what color they would turn when they showed up in her feeding tube. I had to gently remind him that not every child, and especially not every parent, would share his fascination with his sister’s feeding tube. He went on to do an experiment involving putting a hamburger in a jar and seeing how long it would take to rot.
I remember when the nurses first wheeled Chip to me the morning after he was born. He was in one of those little clear crib things that hospitals use, and on the head of the crib was a card with a big A+ one it. I was sure it meant he was the best baby in the nursery. The nurses informed me that it was really his blood type, but I know otherwise. He WAS the best baby, and he still IS the best son and big brother there ever was!