The PINK lunchbox

The PINK lunchbox

This weekend, we had a scare with my brother. Like many of us, he really struggles to communicate when he’s frustrated (imagine yourself during a fight with a significant other – that amazing comeback?! Yeah, comes to you about 5 minutes after the disagreement, right?!). Unlike many of us though, my brother’s inability to communicate is a result of his autism.

So last week, he really wanted to buy this lunchbox. Your run-of-the-mill, standard lunchbox – though it was pink! – was, to my brother, an obsession. Something he had to have, even though it was going to cost him his entire week’s pay – $13.50. (An average to low salary, even for my brother, who enjoys taking ‘vacation days’ more than the average bloke.)

So he made the decision – buy the lunchbox and forgo dinner out on Friday night. This was a great decision…on Thursday. But when Friday came around, to say there was ‘buyer’s remorse’ would be an understatement. He regretted the decision, hated the lunchbox, and wanted nothing more than to go to Taco Bell.

The staff that helps my brother is always told to ‘pick their battles’ – which is just a nice way of saying there are a lot of battles. This staff on Friday evening, God bless her, didn’t even realize she was picking a battle when she started suggesting all of the ‘free’ food my brother could eat at home.

Needless to say, my brother went 0 to 60 in a split second. The details are fortunately not grim – a push here, some angry words there – but a lot of people went through a roller coaster of emotions that night, myself included.

As I was (indescribably) anxiously awaiting results from the evening’s ‘battle,’ I was reminded about why I do what I do. My relationship with my brother has never been standard – in one single situation, he can make me feel so immensely angry and so unconditionally loving. He pushes me to understand situations in an ‘out-of-the-box’ way, and he challenges me to help him work through his autism, rather than use it as an excuse for his behaviors.

This blog won’t be all about my brother or his autism because I know there is more to life than that. But everything I do is shaped by that, by him. So thanks, bro, for making me who I am…I love you, you brat.

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11 thoughts on “The PINK lunchbox

  1. This is such a great blog, I also have a brother with Autism and was thinking of writing something similar. No idea where to start!

    Good luck with your writing and all the love in the world to you and your brother!

  2. Thanks richender1991! I didn’t know where to start either – and now that I’ve started, I don’t know where to go next…! So many stories, and so many memories. (But it is kind of therapeutic to write it all down, so I’d say, start anywhere!)

    All the best to you and your brother!

  3. Katie~
    Great blog! Can’t wait to read more! It is amazing we do what we do from having the best siblings! Glad to see you doing big things!
    Your Old Friend,
    Audrey

    • Thanks Aud!! I’m excited to write more – we have so many stories to share, eh?!

      I heard you’re doing amazing things in a tough environment. That’s so awesome – we’ll have to swap stories (perhaps over a beer!) sometime!

  4. Like everything you do, this is awesome! I love you and your brother (who I don’t even know). You are both amazing and will continue to be every day of your lives! I’m so glad you decided to share your experiences. The siblings’ stories so often go unheard and yet are so important in helping us understand!

    • Thanks Nicole!! The compliments are right back at ya! I don’t think I could do what you do on a daily basis, and you do it with so much care for your students. (And summer is coming – I know even rockstars benefit from some R&R…!)

  5. Katie, it is not a stretch at all to connect to this story instantly. While our stories are so different, I see so so much of myself in your words, filling in Alzheimer’s and Mom where you have written Autism and Brother. We are all living our own story, but hearing about yours will always help me grow. ILY.

  6. Pingback: 20/20 Hindsight | mostimportantlysister.com

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