We are in Ohio this week visiting family. We were here a few weeks back as well, due to my father falling suddenly (and seriously) ill. Thankfully, he is recovering nicely and this visit is a much brighter one.
Arizona has 8 cousins in total, the oldest being 9 and the youngest being 1. As an only child, these cousins have had a huge impact on her social and emotional development growing up. My brother’s four kids live in Ohio, so when we are here, Arizona is with them from sun up to sun down. It is simply heaven.
Generally speaking, neurotypical kids amaze me. But my nieces and nephews are on another level completely. They understand Arizona, have amazing patience with her, don’t let her “get away” with not engaging with them, and genuinely enjoy playing with her – even when she has “big feelings” about things.
Because of her relationship with her cousins, Arizona has learned to be more compassionate, flexible and in touch with her emotions. She has learned to be better about sharing things and not getting “stuck” on her own ideas all the time. She has also learned how to ride a bike, show interest in tying her own shoes and be responsible for her own self care (dressing, bathing, brushing teeth). I know these are things most parents of 9 year olds don’t have to worry about, but that is not the case here.
I cherish every simple blessing that comes our way!
And, I’m grateful that Arizona will have 8 (or more!!) pillars of support around her as she continues to grow and thrive in this world.