I found this note in a pile of papers in my office I needed to sort through and file. It was a prayer request written last Christmas by Ronan’s very devoted younger brother, Little Buddy.
That request is something Little Buddy has added daily to his prayers and for years now. He knows it would take a miracle for Ronan to talk because of what has happened to his big brother. It doesn’t stop Little Buddy from saying that prayer every morning as he starts his day, at school with hs classmattes, and again every night as he ends the day.
I welled up when that note slipped out of the pile of bills, EOBs and importnant school papers. My heart ached but was also bursting with pride as I read Little Buddy’s words. I haven’t been feeling my usually hopefully ever after self lately, and reading that little note added a few more tears than I expected.
I don’t like these emotions, but at least I recognize them and can start to work through them. I put some of the sadness on hold yesterday because we had some celebrating to do. Yesterday, Ronan turned 11. Since Little Buddy is always kind and generous toward Ronan, I asked him to help me with this week’s post. He was thrilled to be asked to share with you a few things about his big brother. Here is a conversation he and I had on Ronan’s birthday:
Cat: Tell us about Ronan.
Little Buddy: Ronan is my 11-year old brother.
Cat: What do you think he will wish for on his birthday?
LB: To talk.
Cat: What do you think he’d say to you today if he could talk? Go get me a S’mores cookie…cuz I love ‘em!
Cat: What would you want Ronan to say?
LB: Anything, I would want hear him say anything. I’d cry no matter what he says.
Cat: Tell us what Ronan can do:
LB: He can spell a lot of words. He can read. He can say a few, but only a few, like amen, Daddy, Mommy, again, yum. He will probably need more words when he grows up.
Cat: What does Ronan like?
LB: He likes to be tickled by Daddy. He likes zerberts on his belly.
Cat: Tell us what he doesn’t like
Little Buddy: Ronan doesn’t like when he doesn’t have his ipad. He doesn’t like the doctor’s office either. He always makes the Sign of the Cross when he hears the word ‘doctor’, so we spell it out or whisper it if he’s near.
Cat: What makes Ronan special?
LB: He’s my brother and he’s a lot of fun. I like being like the “older” brother even though I’m only 9 and a half and he’s eleven. I like it because it’s fun to have a younger brother and it’s better for Ronan to have a big brother helper.
Cat: What do you want to tell Ronan right now?
LB: I wish you could talk so we can play games together like Scrabble. I know you work hard to talk and I wish you could talk this very second.
Cat: Little Buddy, I heard you wanted to sing a song to Ronan. I really liked the lyrics because they reminded me of some of the moms and dads I get to work with. Why did you want to sing this song to Ronan?
LB: I heard this song and I want to sing it to Ronan because one part of the song says “Let the words fall out…” and I thought of Ronan.
Cat: If there was one thing you wanted to say to Ronan, what would it be?
LB: I want to tell him this:
Love, Little Buddy
Cat: Thank you, Little Buddy. You are an amazing brother. Mommy’s very proud of you and what you are doing for Ronan.
LB: Thanks, Mommy. I just love him.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.