(While we parental units were in Ireland, my sister came out to hold down the fort and keep people alive…and she has some words to say to those who thought this was a bad idea…)
Sorry, I’m not sorry…..
But I just want to take a minute to apologize for not understanding that when I tell people why I’m going to my sister’s and watching my niece, the first thing response I always get every single time is “I’m so sorry” or “It must be so hard”.
Sorry for what? Sorry that I’m going to go see a part of my family? Sorry that I get an opportunity to be a part of my nieces (and nephews) lives? Sorry that I get to terrorize with them with stories of what would happen to their mother and myself if we didn’t clean our rooms? Playfully threaten that it was three against four and we are bigger than them, so they better make sure they keep up with their chores now that the all the adults are teamed up? Sorry they that when ask for McDonald’s, all I ask is for to be good that day at school? Sorry when after an evening bath and tucked into bed (ponies, penguins, and all) she surprised me with a kiss and a “gnight auntie”?
So sorry again, but to me this sounds like something every aunt (and uncle) should look forward too and not have people think that this is some sort of punishment life dealt us. Maura may have specials needs…she may require special care and she most certainly requires a special kind of patience and understanding…but to me, all it means is she just need is a special kind of love
At the very beginning of this visit, Maura had a meltdown in public… big time. I knew it was looming because of how she acted at lunch. Slightly manic… kept mimicking antics of a Hollywood scripted panic attack one we left the house. BUT it was her older brother’s birthday and he asked to have friends over… you know, the one teen who doesn’t raise fuss, scene, or commotion? Oh.. you’ve heard of him, but not much else? That’s because he doesn’t raise a fuss, scene, or commotion. So what better gift could Maura do for her big brother on his 18th, was to let him be an 18 year old boy having a pizza party with his friends. Alone…. No Penguins…. No Frozen… No stealing his day with blossoming tween Maura theatrics.
So burgers with the girls, couple fights over whose shoes which girl wanted to wear (while at Five Guys) and it was off to Target to buy Sean some birthday gifts. Right away Maura picked up a map book she wanted and since I got the warning that Maura loves Target when she gets to buy all the things, I thought we did pretty well that she was cooperating with a map book while we bought cards and candy for sean. So it was at the check out that behind me I heard fussing….. Well fussing turned into tears…. Tears turned to “mom’s”….. “Mom’s” turned into butt on the ground, hysterical crying, refusing to even stand or stop screaming.
As frustrating as this might sound, this didn’t bother me…everything was paid for… and eventually she would take a moment to breathe, take a second and actually pay attention to me…. Or for the very least get tired of sitting on the ground and want to go home for more of her favorite penguin cartoon. Here was a little girl, that doesn’t understand where her mom is, being told no to her normal routine at home and at her favorite store to buy all the things. So you know what? In my opinion, I totally get why she’s having this meltdown at this moment. It’s just going to take us a little longer to get out of the store.
What was frustrating was occasionally looking up to catch looks of pity or even worse, annoyance, on other customers face over a sad and worried little girl just working through her emotions as they checked. I’m sorry, but what am I supposed to do? Pick up her and drag all 5’2” of her hysterics out of the store? That wasn’t going to happen. Not take her out on beautiful Saturday afternoon? Still not going to happen. Not try to make the most of the only time I’ll have with my nieces for an entire year? I’m most certainly not going to lock her away at the house for their convenience while running errand, so they don’t have to have to be reminded sometimes life isn’t always easy.
What I will do is learn from that experience a little bit more about Maura. What makes her tick, what might set her off. This week she taught me that she needs special attention. My full,undivided, and patient attention. Everyday we are all too quick in to get annoyed when things aren’t done quick and easy. With Maura, if you take the time and listen to her clues, the reward for achieving the most simple of tasks are more fulfilling than any mindless convenience money can by. I’ve noticed Maura’s growing up, not fast,but she is growing up. After a storm of emotions passes, she does know when she caused a scene and can sense when she did something wrong and apologizes. She apologetic and as remorseful as she can be. So why should I approach my time with her as burden? Why should I accept people’s apologies and sympathies for something they see as being hard. It’s not me that’s having a hard week, it’s the little girl that misses her mom that’s having the hardest week of us all.
Can you see why I have no problem leaving Maura with my sister? Excuse me while I am thankful for having awesome family members. – Phoebe