That Went Well

Songs for Guilty Siblings

Some people with developmental disabilities have brothers or sisters who lead lives that do not much include their handicapped siblings. Some make a big effort to leave the problem way in their past and rarely think about or mention it. (Arthur Miller sent his son with Down syndrome to an institution the moment he found out his son's condition. Barbara Walters had very little to do with her sister, and discusses it, with regret, in her autobiography.)

I think that these people are pretty rare in the world, but what do I know? I do know that there are a large bunch of us who see the situation and wire it up another way entirely. We are the siblings who wake up each morning and have a big slice of guilt for breakfast, for the fact that we are "normal" and our sibling isn't, and maybe it's our fault in some cosmic way, and really, we need to make it all better for that sibling. We find that no matter what we do, it isn't enough or it backfires on us. So what we tend to do with that information is to TRY HARDER to make the sibling happy. It's such a pathetic dance we do, all our lives, that I have found some theme songs for us. If you are a member of this little club, try these songs on for size, and I hope you get the same laugh out of them that I do.

The Mose Allison one at the end is not about making someone happy. It's just our perfect theme song.

I want to be Happy - Doris Day

It All Depends on You - Frank Sinatra

As Long as He Needs Me - Oliver! Soundtrack

Make Someone Happy - Jimmy Durante

I Don't Worry About a Thing - Mose Allison