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Meet the Editor: Jacqui Neber

Meet the Editor: Jacqui Neber

Meet NYMetroParents' newest assistant editor, a Long Island native.

Introducing Jacqui Neber, assistant editor of NYMetroParents.com. This Long Island native has a passion for raising awareness and helping others through her writing.

In what is maybe my first memory, my twin brother Matt and I are in our pale kitchen, wobbling on 3-year-old legs, asking my mom for more Gerber’s creamed spinach baby food.

I don’t have any other memories of Gerber’s creamed spinach. I barely liked it then and I don’t like it now. This memory is not about the food, but about my brother, which is fitting. Matt is one of the most important people in my life: the main reason why I am who I am, and one reason I am excited to be working at NYMetroParents.

Matt has autism and is visually impaired, so my experience growing up was a little different than most kids’. I mean, I’ve always identified as a sibling. But I also identify as a twin, a parent (sort of!) when my parents cannot be, and a protector.

I grew up on the North Shore of Long Island. I most remember the summers: the lushness of the side yards I ran through with neighborhood friends, the neighbor’s yellow Lab I played fetch with every chance I could, crying when they cut down my favorite oak tree in our yard to make space for a pool. I remember writing about the fireflies and the sunsets in short stories that still live in my childhood closet. I was always a writer.

I remember Matt sitting on lounge chairs in giant hats and little long sleeve shirts, keeping out of the sun. I remember him playing delicately with inchworms when they dropped down from the trees, and he was so gentle, one of the things I love most about him.

In the warm evenings, we’d play basketball for hours. He would always yell at me when I missed a shot, then laugh, then make a three-pointer while demanding I scream “Score!” so loud the entire neighborhood knew who exactly was winning. These are the things I don’t forget.

As we’ve gotten older, my relationship with Matt has changed. We’ve always been close—sometimes I can tell what he’s thinking, feeling, or trying to articulate even when my parents can’t—but I now see myself as his guardian. It’s a role I have accepted readily, and grown into as I mature and realize just how important Matt is to me. It’s a role that guides my desire to provide the best resources for parents of kids with special needs, and share my perspective with NYMetroParents readers.
   

Jacqui Neber (center) with her family at her graduation from Johns Hopkins University

   
As I said, I’ve always been a writer, so going to Johns Hopkins University to major in The Writing Seminars was a no-brainer. My time in the major and as a student journalist at The Johns Hopkins News-Letter helped solidify the kind of journalist I want to be: one who raises awareness and helps others. I hope I can do that during my time here. I’m excited to begin my journey at NYMetroParents!

Main image: Jacqui Neber and her brother at Cupsogue Beach in Westhampton