The last child, Luke, is going to be 5 years old is described as being messy and flighty. Father is distressed that he and Luke at this point in time have a predominantly negatively oriented relationship. Father also states that it is sometimes very difficult to appreciate the mental age differences between the children since all of the boys are about the same size and the tendency would naturally be to treat them very similarly which might not be appropriate.
Paragraph 4 discusses an issue that a lot of parents who have children close in age deal with. That is, the tendency to expect children that look the same age as an older sibling to act older. My mom was asked multiple times if she had triplets. Matt was very small for his age. Mark was average. Luke was bigger. At one time they were all in the same size clothes. One in slim, one in regular, and one in husky.
This past weekend someone said that my daughter Arabella looks like she is 20 years old. She is 12. I have to tell myself that if she is acting like a 12 year old, that is because she is 12. I completely understand this.
However, Luke and my dad always had conflict. Luke was a mama’s boy. I don’t think that my dad liked that very much. Luke was always flighty and hyperactive. He was the kid that couldn’t sit still in class. He fidgeted in his chair and tapped his pencil on the desk. Luke was a very smart kid. He found school to be boring. He was the class clown.
At home, Luke competed with Matt for attention. He did risky things like cutting live wires when he was angry at my dad. He kicked a hole in the wall. Luke did not have any rules because no one could control him which really wasn’t fair for the rest of us, especially Mark. Mark had strict rules because he followed them. Mark and Luke were polar opposites. As the oldest, I found myself taking sides with either brother. Mainly I was on Mark’s side because he usually was right. Luke was more persuasive though. He has charisma and the ability to talk people into doing anything. He is popular.
Luke’s main job was to make sure that Matt didn’t get all of the attention. He was successful. After I left the house, he also was a caregiver for Matt.
Sometimes Luke and I talk about our childhood years. We wish our children would understand what it was like growing up with an autistic sibling without actually going through it. Luke mentioned the simple things that we were not able to do as a family, like going out to eat at a restaurant together. These are things that our children take for granted. He is a good father, better than our father was. He has made a lot of effort over the years to try to have a relationship with our dad and with Mark.
One thing I do want to comment on is that we were always taking sides or it seemed like we were off doing our own thing. We didn’t have a lot of family cohesion. We had to, a lot of the time, split up the family because someone needed to stay behind to care for Matt. We were not allowed to express negative emotions because that would upset Matt. Issues were left unresolved. We didn’t have family meetings or discussions. Feelings of any sort were left to fester or were swept under the rug. It seems like as adults we are finally starting to get to know each other for the first time. I am not sure if that is normal or not. I think it is probably not normal to feel like you really don’t know your siblings. We aren’t the same people that we were before either.
Luke probably changed the most. He is no longer messy. He is no longer the clown either. He is conscientious and serious, almost perfectionistic. He is growing and thriving as an individual. He is doing really well.