I find it ironic that these two pictures were taken exactly two years apart. Two years ago today, joe, Courtney and I had dinner with our parents and cut into this yummy cake to find out that we were going to have another little girl. We were giving Courtney a little sister, a best friend for life. I couldn’t have been happier. As most know, I come from a large family and we are all super close. I can say without hurting any of their feelings that there is one sibling I am closest to. That is my younger sister, Heather. We are 2 1/2 years a part but pretty much raised as twins and grew up doing EVERYTHING together. So when I was pregnant with Alyssa, I went into the pregnancy wanting a baby sister for Courtney. Of course I would have been happy with a boy but I wanted to give Courtney her best friend.

What I didn’t know at the time the first picture was taken was in the coming months I was going to see little to no growth in Courtney’s language, in fact I was going to see regression. I didn’t realize at that time that I was going to be spending more time finding therapies for Courtney rather than preparing for child #2. I remember people asking me if Courtney was excited to be a big sister? Really? I can’t get Courtney to respond to her name or say a word, you think she has any idea about this little human that was going to rock her world?!

Alyssa arrived and as I suspected, the first couple weeks Courtney wanted nothing to do with her. Then she realized how soft Alyssa’s hands were to the touch. She would go up to Alyssa and take the tiny hand and rub it on her face. Though it was purely for sensory reasons, it was cute to see. It was even cuter when Courtney would be upset about something and then would grab Alyssa’s hand and the rubbing of her hand would calm her down. Then the day she actually called Alyssa, “baby”…it was then I knew, Alyssa was the best gift we could have ever given Courtney. More so than what I hoped it would be.

Alyssa loves her big sister. As soon as she started moving around, she’s wanted to follow Courtney. She watches everything she does. Alyssa is also a little trooper as she has come with me to take Courtney to all her therapies since she was a newborn. Once Alyssa started walking confidently, I also noticed something else. Her skills were starting to surpass Courtney. And honestly, at just 17 months, I think Alyssa is already catching on that she has to “help” me sometimes with Courtney. It’s very bitter sweet to watch some of these moments.

In the last few months, their relationship has blossomed even more. Not sure what clicked, but suddenly Courtney sees Alyssa as a playmate. Courtney does not initiate “play” with anyone but suddenly she is with Alyssa. Courtney is hugging her, she’s trying to kiss her and she wants to “play” with her. Now you have to watch her like a hawk because she doesn’t know her own strength. I’ve caught her grabbing Alyssa by the neck. Her “play” quickly becomes very rough. She means well though. She doesn’t know how to interact with another peer, so now it is our job to teach her. Though while we teach her, I’m going to cautiously enjoy every little interaction the two of them have.

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