She Calls Me ‘Kiss’
When I look at Elizabeth,
What I hope to see
Is the sweet child that hides behind
The eyes that gaze at me.
When I look at Elizabeth,
What I would love to see
Is the girl who’s chosen a nickname
Which means so much to me.
Elizabeth is slowly learning
The importance of our names,
And how she can refer to us
In both times of sun and rain.
The name she uses just for me
Is a sweet name I’ll never miss –
My little two-year-old sister
Is the one who calls me ‘Kiss.’
I suppose it’ll be a while yet
Before I understand her mind,
But in the months that follow here,
I simply desire to be kind.
Being a big sister to a child like Elizabeth comes with a dozen daily struggles.
I am challenged every day to care for her in the right, loving, godly way, and more often than not, my efforts fall short. I think that’s because for most of this time, I’ve been relying on my own strength to get through each day … instead of allowing the Lord to love her through me.
Recently, I’ve been adhering to the belief that it will always be this way, that she’ll struggle with her emotions and understanding of the world for years to come. When I stop to watch her, however, I see improvement every day. If I don’t focus on her setbacks, I see the beautiful progress she’s making. When I trust that the Lord is working in her heart, I don’t fall into despair … I give her room to grow.
I’m praying that the Lord will continue to work in my heart, that He will teach me how to love her constantly. I don’t want to only be happy with her and enjoy her presence when she’s having a good day. I desire to care for her in the moments when she doesn’t understand, when she’s trying to understand … because the thing about autism is that she’s not giving me a hard time; she’s having a hard time. That’s a quote I read recently that really spoke to me, because I have to remember that when Elizabeth’s upset about something, she isn’t deliberately throwing a fit, or trying to ruin our day … she’s in just as much pain as we are, if not more.
Living with two autistic siblings has taught me so much more than I would have realized. It’s teaching me how to truly love someone, and how to care for them as the Lord does. It takes a special deepness of love – strength that only the Lord has! – to unconditionally adore people who are different, who have bigger struggles.
I’m praying that I won’t take this time of learning for granted, that I won’t wish it away … I’m praying that I’ll embrace it from here on out.
The inspiration for this poem and post is based on the fact that Elizabeth calls me ‘Kiss.’ She has confused my name with my mom’s occasional encouragement to her to give me a kiss on the cheek, which is both weird and absolutely adorable. The fact that she refers to me by how we show affection to each other honestly touches my heart. It’s the little blessings like this that make life worth living.