Earlier, as we were leaving Dillion's.....
Me: What's wrong, buddy?
D: My heart doesn't feel good. I feel lonely.
A: You're not lonely, bro, because I'm here and I'm still your brother.
I smiled when I heard that, and I felt so proud of A. But then in that same moment I got scared because one day, that unconditional love A has for his big brother isn't going to be there. And it will be D's fault.
While I hurt for D as he struggles and lives his life on the Spectrum, I mostly feel bad and sad for A. He has heard so much screaming and yelling, seen his brother meltdown numerous times, seen his parents physically restrain D, and also been physically hurt by him. There have been days that I have seen nothing but pure terror in A's eyes after doing something to D. (Don't get me wrong, A knows how to instigate, but he still doesn't deserve pure terror.) He's heard his big brother threaten to kill himself and seen him pull a knife on me. But A loves him.
Maybe it's because I relate to A in a different way. I grew up seeing my parents scream and yell and throw things and inflict fear and pain on us kids. It kills me that A has to see all that happening. Granted, it's different (my parents were horrible, horrible people; D is on the Autism Spectrum), but I know how much it hurts to see things that you can't change--that you can't help.
Then, on the flip side...A follows all of D's modeled behavior. Good AND bad. So he's started hitting himself, and saying, "I'm stupid, nobody loves me," and saying that he should be gone from the family. Earlier today he said, "Mom, just hurt me. I'm stupid." He's been tested and he's not on the Spectrum; this is all just mimicry. Nonetheless, it sucks. And is why my 4-year-old goes to counseling. (Well, that and his dad being deployed.)
I don't know. My head's all over the place right now. I'm thinking it's a sugar crash. Also, I'm trying to get back into the habit of blogging so that's that.