I often write about my personal perspective of life, but today I want to introduce an incredible person to whom I have the privilege of being a big sister.
Among the many students finishing up their final year of studies is my no longer little brother, Lucas. This is a period that will bring about big changes in the lives of graduating high school seniors. As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, the form some of these changes will take is uncertain, but change is inevitable.
I can’t help but wonder what changes this transition will have on my own relationships. Lucas and I have always had a close bond. I am confident this bond will never fade, but undoubtedly, some things won’t be quite the same as he takes the next steps into his future.
Our close connection is a part of each of our personalities, but SMA has altered both of our lives in ways that encourage this bond to grow. This growth is unique.
Lucas has grown up in a different environment than many children. He has watched, waited patiently, and helped as I have done multiple breathing treatments every day for his entire life. He even knows how to operate most of the machines. Lucas has finished many homework assignments while sitting in hospital or doctor’s office waiting rooms.
He’s had fun experiences, too, such as spending countless hours riding around on the back of my wheelchair. We even put together a makeshift step for him to stand on when he was small. Now that he is older, he is one of the few people I trust to drive that wheelchair.
Over the years, my brother has become one of my most dedicated helpers. It is second nature for him to assist me with anything that I need. He instinctively positions my arms in just the right spot at the table and listens to my coughing in case I need help getting someone to clear my lungs. He’ll run to the grocery store at a moment’s notice when I’m missing an ingredient for one of my crockpot recipes.
The empathy and compassion Lucas shows me and others never ceases to amaze me. I’m so grateful to have a brother who is willing to roll with me — sometimes literally — through the most difficult challenges that life throws at us, and to stand beside me enjoying when everything is as wonderful as it can be.
As I watch him doing things like filling out college scholarship applications and repairing his beloved fixer-upper Mustang convertible, I am filled with pride for the young man that my brother has become.
Lucas has achieved many praiseworthy accomplishments throughout his life. He was an honor student, raised money for charitable causes, traveled to Spain to learn the language and culture, and led his school’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps as their admired battalion commander.
To me, one of his greatest accomplishments is simply being an amazing person and brother.
As Lucas prepares to embark on the next chapters of his story, I know some things will never change. Regardless of where life carries him, I’ll always be able to count on my little brother. I can count on him coming home to play our favorite games. I can count on him knowing what I need without having to say a word. I can count on him being one of the greatest friends that I will ever have no matter what changes come our way.
Congratulations, Lucas, on graduating high school with the class of 2020 and for being absolutely awesome!
Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.
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