After some ridiculous testing on Thursday and Friday, some ridiculous feeling sorry for myself & some very kind, thoughtful, surprising and not ridiculous packages that showed up at my door, I managed to keep a promise to Youngest Nephew Friday night, and we had ourselves a sleepover before school starts up again.
And I realized that the craziness of the hours we've watched them this summer (long, strenuous and exhausting for me) have been worth it. Because he's still my special boy, and when he's not here I miss him so much it hurts to breathe sometimes.
I also realize that admitting it 'out loud' makes me uncomfortable, because I feel the need to explain that while I understand that his parents had the right to move 45 minutes away (instead of 3 minutes away), I'm still hurt by it. I still feel wounded by the fact that we can't see him everyday, and sometimes, during the school year last year, it was almost a month between in person visits. And yes, I know that sounds reasonable to other people: it even sounds reasonable to me, but it doesn't feel reasonable. At all.
This is a boy who, like his sister now, Mum and I watched almost everyday when he was an infant. Even when I was living at college, I saw him at least 2 times a week. I helped potty train him, I'm the one who taught him how to make the pillow/blanket forts he loves so much; I could list all the little things that make up our connection, but they still wouldn't describe it.
They wouldn't describe how hard it was, at times when Big/Only Brother's hideously ugly temper was roaring or Soon-to-be Sister-in-law's inconsistency was showing its face in dangerous ways, to let him go home with them: His parents! Another admission that makes me feel exposed: I know I'm his Auntie, I know that they're good parents who love their kids immensely and do their best. And I know it sounds hideous, written down like that, as if I wanted to replace them... which wasn't it at all. I just wanted them - still want them - to see how special this boy is. To see his generous heart and be careful of harming it. To recognize his brilliant mind, and be sure to not let him use it to manipulate them into stuff that's not good for him. To acknowledge that he feels hurt or scared or lonely underneath his anger or whining or pouting. Which isn't to say that they don't see all that - it's just there's been times when they haven't.
So, yeah, anywyas....
This sleepover was like medicine for me - even though I feel like crap physically, even though it was horrible timing and I probably should've rescheduled - having the one on one time with him, getting to see him laugh at the books I chose for us to read together or watching him giggle at the Dinosaurs while Junior hits his Daddy on the head with a big "Not the Mama!" was definitely worth today's pain.
Even if I'm also "Not the Mama," being this kid's aunt is a balm on my heart.
I hope to have some pictures up either today or tomorrow, so you can see our adventure - We went out for Ice Cream! We stayed up till 10! We ate breakfast at (groan) 6! Some of us have enough energy to power the Eastern Seaboard! And some of us were so exhausted that they sent the energized one to Costco with his Grammy!
Hope you're all enjoying your (Labor Day in the US) weekend!