ASP Laguna Chapter celebrating Sibling Camp last May 9-10, 2014 at the Rizal Re-Creation Center in Rizal, Laguna. The province of Laguna had a long distance away from Baguio City. It took me about 10 hours, 2 different rides in order to attend my first ASP Siblings Camp. But it wasn’t about the distance or the hours of travel. It was somehow about being with another set of family.
At a young age, being the firstborn gives you the idea that siblings are playmates. A few years pass and they are teammates. Probably they become confidantes a couple of years more even with the trivial fights and misunderstandings. After all, they’re the things that make you closer. You journey together in the stages of life, look out and have high hopes and wishes for each other. Having a sibling with ASD doesn’t change that.
We probably have our own uncertainties, expectations and understanding. But we have had the same experiences, struggles and questions. It wasn’t just about finding strength in numbers. But it was about connecting, sharing and reflecting. We try to seek meaning in our reflections. We draw courage and certainty from each other’s insights. Then from that experience, we move to face whatever things to come.
As I now continue with life’s travel, I somehow look forward to the ongoing role of a sibling with enlightenment and purpose. In a few months, I’d still be the same academic coach prepping him for his exams. In a few years, we’d be laughing about how one got heavy or when one badly needed a haircut or to shave. A couple of years more, I’d probably be congratulating him together with the teary-eyed family for whatever achievements he continues to gain. In about 10 years or so, he’d perhaps be a groomsman at someone’s wedding and an uncle for a cheery son or a lovely daughter.
Our roles might continuously be piling up. As a cheerer, advocate, counsellor, and so on. It simply gives life and meaning to being a sibling.