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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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Riding The Bus With My Sister.: Special Needs Parenting 101
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent stories by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
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           >> View all 7,357

A young woman rides the bus with her mentally disabled sister, to make sure she gets to school on time.

My sister goes to school, each and every morning, just as I do.

I ride to school with her on her bus because I want to make sure she's delivered to the right building, make sure that she gets off, goes to where she's supposed to go.

She's older than me (twenty); however, she has the mind of a five-year-old.  Don't know what happened; when she was being born, her brain got damaged somehow; now she's stamped with mental disabilities for the rest of her life.

Bianca sometimes doesn't always do what she's supposed to.  I can't tell you how many times she's been left on the bus or was reported missing at school because she failed to show up.

Talk about unnerving!

I'm sixteen.  I'm the younger sister; however, a lot of the time I act more like the older sister because as I said, Bianca's mentally disabled. 

Besides making sure she gets to her school without any problems, I also am responsible for getting her school uniform together, getting her papers together and packed neatly in her backpack (which she carries with her everywhere), putting one or two of her favorite toys in there, making sure she washes her face, brushes her teeth, brushes her hair, so she doesn't look like a street urchin.

Sometimes things flow smoothly; othertimes they don't go as well.  Bianca will start crying because she can't find her favorite pink tennis shoes, or her favorite shirt with the fuzzy teddybear on the front.  (She loves teddy bears.  She also loves anything pink.)  I then will have to tear the house apart, looking for her prized shoes or shirt; she won't stop crying until the items are found.

Bianca loves anything Disney: her room is a Disney motif: Disney bedsheets, bedcovers, curtains, pictures, etc.  Her favorite movie is probably "Pocahontas"; she loves the music.  Every time we watch it she sits there, enraptured by the action on the screen.

During the sad parts, she cries.  I will then have to hold her, comfort her, tell her that it's just a story, that it isn't real.

The bus driver on Bianca's bus understands why I, a healthy, normal teenager, rides the special needs bus.  I have to, or else Bianca will stay on the bus if she so chooses or won't do what is asked of her.  She then drops me off at my high school, which I really appreciate. 

Sometimes kids at my school will pick on me, calling me retarded, or making fun of my sister.  I get mad, tell them to stop.  Sometimes I've gotten in fights on account of kids being mean; however, I am not going to have them picking on my older sister.

They don't understand the ramifications of what I have to face every day: a woman/child clinging on me, asking me to play house with her, drying her tears or cleaning up her messes, or making sure she gets through the day without wandering off or having a meltdown.

Even though she's twenty, Bianca isn't like most kids.  That part is obvious when you see her.  Short, chunky in build, with hair done up in pigtails, dressed in pink, dragging her beat up old teddybear with her everywhere she goes. She will sit there, sucking her thumb, humming happily to herself, or pointing excitedly out the window, no matter how many times we've gone by the same familiar scenery.

She is like a kid in a candy store or a kid at Christmas: forever curious, wondering if there's anything in store for her.

When people tease her, she laughs along with them.  She doesn't  understand the concept of teasing.  I tell her not to laugh, as kids are being bad; she just looks at me, scratching her head, that goofy smile still plastered upon her face.  I then drag her out of there; only then will she cry because I guess she thinks they are only playing with her.

Everything is so simple, so uncomplicated with Bianca.  Meanwhile, I've had to take on the role of caretaker, the big sister, even though I'm four years younger than she is. 

Having a sister like Bianca is very complicated.  Part of me loves her to pieces; yet there's that other part of me where I wish she would drop off the face of the earth; she drives me insanely crazy at times.

This is when I wish she were normal like me.

Maybe if she was, my life wouldn't be so confusing a lot of the time; however, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world because I love my older (little) sister very, very much.


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Reviewed by Mary Coe 3/11/2008
A compassionate write. Very well written. Enjoyed.
Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 3/11/2008
This is a beautiful story, the compassion is evident in this piece
God Bless
Reviewed by Stephanie Murray 3/11/2008
What a special relationship- an endearing story.

Reviewed by Carole Mathys 3/11/2008
A very compassionate write about two unique sisters...well done
love, Carole~
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 3/11/2008

The younger, being the oldest - one never knows what the families go through when one of their brothers or sisters are disabled - you pen it powerfully here and make it believable. Well done.

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
Reviewed by Mr. Ed 3/11/2008
You obviously do, and it sounds like you are a wonderful older (younger) sister.
Reviewed by Felix Perry 3/11/2008
Thank you once again for letting us see the life of not only the disabled but their families as well, it is not easy to deal with mental challenges in a world that isn't always accepting.

Reviewed by Georg Mateos 3/11/2008
Not so much about Bianca, but more about a caring sister that are aware of those little details showing her love for a disable but a tender sister. (the part of driving her is understandably for those that had brothers and sisters, they are sometimes a drag, but then again, they are our drag)


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