Two weeks ago, my eldest daughter Sofia brought home a book for me to read. It was the book “Wonder.” Yes, it is that book which inspired the blockbuster movie with the same title. It was the story of Auggie, a special child.
I haven’t seen the movie. I didn’t have the time because of so many things that I needed to accomplish at home. Anyway, I was touched by my daughter’s gesture.
She thought about me when she saw the book. Or maybe, she’s telling me something.
I started reading the book and I couldn’t help but see Sofia in Via, the older sister of Auggie.
There was a part in the book where Via described how she would keep her problems to herself because she didn’t want to bother her mom and dad who were clearly busy with her baby brother.
I don’t know why I felt this sudden feeling of guilt. I know that the impact of caring for Miguel is greater on Sofia because she’s at that stage where she’s in that confusing teenage phase and she needed more guidance from us. But, I can’t be with her as much as I wanted to because of having to care for her baby brother.
And so, questions started coming up in my head. Could it be that she is keeping to herself, not wanting me and her dad to worry about her? Does she have concerns that she doesn’t want to bother us with because she’s thinking we have bigger worries to deal with? Is she minimizing her own problems because she feels they’re insignificant in comparison to her baby brother’s?
We’ve always been open to our children. We’ve always told them that we wouldn’t be keeping secrets from each other — that we are one team. And Sofia has always been good at telling us what she feels.
But after reading the book, I realize I may not be seeing some things that I needed to pay attention to. She may be struggling with problems that I don’t know about.
So, I took the chance during their holiday break to talk to her more often. We got to spend more time together doing just about anything around the house. And while on them, I got to draw out her feelings and thoughts.
Next week, she’ll be back to school with her sister Elaina. I’m just happy that I got to spend more time with them particularly now that Miguel’s seizures have been under control.
Yes, it’s a challenge for me to really keep a close eye on each of my four children. But what I learned is that I shouldn’t sacrifice my other children’s needs for my special needs one. After all, they are all special and precious to me.