"My Brother Brennan"
By Mia Aube
At the young age of five-years-old, I received news the most exciting news I’ve ever received – I was going to be a big sister. In late January of the following year, my brother Brennan was born. I was so thrilled the night that Brennan came into the world that I hadn’t slept one bit. Keep in mind: Brennan was born around 5 o’clock in the morning, but even so, I was too excited to sleep. When I met Brennan for the first time, I almost couldn’t believe he was here and that I had a little brother. To this day, holding Brennan for the first time was one of my proudest moments.
Once my mom and Brennan had been in the hospital for a day or so, I noticed how different nurses had come in and out of the room and taken Brennan for one test after another, quite a few times. I knew that this was normal after a baby was born, but after one nurse returned with Brennan after a test, she stayed to speak with my parents. At the time, I didn’t understand what she told them, but what I learned was that Brennan had one “little ear”, but otherwise everything was okay. As time went on, we spent a lot of time at doctor’s appointments and learned that there was a little bit more to the story behind Brennan’s “little ear”.
Brennan’s little ear was in fact a deformity caused by what is called Microtia, and Hemifacial Microsomia which means one of his facial nerves is not developed, causing one side of his face to express slightly differently than the other. In addition, Brennan’s Microtia caused him hearing loss. So, when Brennan was about three-months old, he was fitted for his first hearing aid, which was neat and exciting. However, following Brennan’s first hearing aid came surgeries.
His first surgery came when he was about one year old when he had his first set of ear tubes. While it was known for being a relatively simple procedure, I had never been as worried as I was that day. He came out of surgery perfectly healthy, but many more surgeries followed, including corrective reconstructions procedures, two more sets of ear tubes, and ear patch surgery using his own cartilage at the age seven years old.
The day of his surgery, I was happy to be standing by Brennan’s side– and glad to be there for my parents as well. But on the inside, no matter what surgeries he’d have going forward, I spent the day nervously until I saw Brennan again afterwards.
Between the many doctor’s appointments and surgeries, we as a family got to know wonderful doctors and Physician Assistants. We also became involved in “Hear We Go” which is a 5k race at AI duPont hospital/Nemours, raising awareness and funds for pediatric hearing loss. After being involved in “Hear We Go” for some time, I made the decision to speak about the race and the reason we were involved in it to start. I gave my first presentation about “Hear We Go” when I was in 7th grade at Ursuline Academy, to the upper school (I was about 12, and Brennan was about 6). After that I spoke with the middle and lower schools, and for presentations that followed, Brennan came along with me. Brennan and I were a team, and each time I spoke about “Hear We Go” after that, I had Brennan at my side.
Brennan is now in his first year as a sixth grader at his school in Wilmington, DE. For anyone who has ever gone to middle school, or known a middle schooler, you know that it’s safe to say that middle school is a hard time for anyone. Living with microtia and hemifacial microsomia has led Brennan to deal with insecurities and self-consciousness, most especially when those around him question him about his little ear, his hearing aid, or his slightly curved smile. However, he holds his head high, with his beautiful smile, and tells them with courage. This year especially has taught me just how tough, brave, and resilient my brother is. Since Brennan was born, I can say without hesitation that he is my best friend in the whole wide world, even if he is my little brother and six and a half years younger than me.
I’ve made accomplishments in my life, but my proudest by far, is being Brennan’s big sister.
Siblings with a Mission is a non-profit, international organization established to serve and support siblings of individuals with complex health conditions and developmental disabilities. All images are found on Google images and are solely used for educational purposes. The stories and advice provided by Siblings with a Mission are not to be replaced by professional advice and counseling but to be considered as an additional source of support.