8 Lessons You’ll Learn From Living With A Disabled Sibling


1. You better eat it before they do.

Meals are less like an excerpt from Leave It To Beaver and more like feeding time on the farm. You better get some of the slop before it’s gone, Wilbur, or you’re going to bed hungry. Sit around a table? Fuck you, we’ll eat where we want, whether it’s on the nice leather couch in front the television or the on the floor of the kitchen.

2. Nothing belongs to you.

If your sibling wants it, your sibling gets it. Even if it’s the bottle belonging to the baby in the stroller next to you…

3. There’s no “crying over spilt milk.”

If something breaks or your sibling makes a mess, you clean it up. Or you let them be messy. Do you know how many times I’ve just let my sister tear into a bag of Cheetos for the pure look of joy on her face and the look of terror on my dad’s when he gets home? You’ll go ahead and lightly dust the clean, white kitchen with orange powder, reminding dad why we don’t buy Cheetos.

4. Eating out means putting on a show.

Your sibling yells, flails, throws things, etc. People are always going to look. They can’t help themselves. And at this point you’ve stopped giving a fuck. Hell, sometimes you’ll even throw a piece of silverware or a sugar packet across the restaurant too if the service is poor and pretend your sibling did it.

5. Everybody has bodily functions.

If your sibling wears diapers as mine does, you live full-time with the possibility that you’re going to be covered in urine, feces, or even vomit at some point in the day. Who cares? Nobody who knows you. At least it’s not your own, which is more than a lot of college kids can say after a long Friday night.

6. You live with the picture you got to take.

There’s no such thing as a redo with a kid who doesn’t want to sit still, look at a camera, or just plain doesn’t like you today. Which is why Christmas photos with the family often look like this.

My sister can walk just fine, she just didn’t feel like it.

7. Introducing significant others to your sibling is like trying to force someone to act in a production of Cabaret, who’s never seen the show.

My sister likes boys. She expresses this by jumping onto their laps and making them super uncomfortable. And you thought your jock older brother was a cock block…

8. Bedtime is when you can finally relax…

…and do all the things you didn’t get to do during the day. When your sibling goes to bed, the whole house goes silent. If you’re in school you hit the books, but not literally, because you’ve got to be as quiet as possible. Nothing is stirring but the straw in your dad’s well-deserved whiskey ginger.