So, I've, ahem, been absent a bit. Life, right?
There has been lots going on in my little world. My therapist was on vacation, and then I was gone, so I haven't been in three weeks! It will be nice to talk to her again next week. I have had ups and downs over the last three weeks, for sure. What has been crystal clear to me during this time is how much more aware of my mental state than I used to be. Some examples...
So this past weekend I went to Washington DC with my amazing sister in law and my niece (R). R was born with a vascular disorder called CMTC, which is very rare and can range from entirely cosmetic to seriously debilitating. There are only about 100 (I think) diagnosed cases in the WORLD. The doctors who have begun really working on this, researching the genetics, etc are based in The Netherlands. They come to America once a year for a conference, and so that the kids who have this disorder can be seen by the doctor. For the past two summers, my brother & SIL have taken her there, and it has been immensely helpful to them. This year, my brother could not go (because of an Army thing) so they asked me to go in his place. Of course, I was beyond thrilled to go, to be able to help, and to get to spend quality time with my girl.
So last Thursday, I flew to Wichita. The plan was for me to pick R up from daycare and then hang out with her until her mama got home from work, and my brother got home from the business trip he was on. Off I went to get her at daycare. When I got there, she saw me at the door and came running over, all excited, saying "Aunt Corty!" over and over. My heart melted. Again. This kid. I swear, she gets me. So I swooped her up and we took off to hang out for the afternoon. We stopped at Daddy's Store (QuickTrip) to get her a Pink (watermelon slushie) and she told me all about not touching The Hot (the racks of hot dogs, which are hot) and how Daddy drinks coffee, but she doesn't. And I shouldn't. And Mama doesn't. :D
R was super excited to take me to her house, where she promptly stripped down to her pull-up and started putting on dress up clothes. After I talked her into going potty, she changed into her Dora panties. And that is pretty much all she wore until she put her jammies on that night. :D Oh, and sometimes a veil or skirt from the dress up box. We watched some Disney, played, ran around the basement screaming our fool heads off (me with a bright gold skirt on my head, kind of like hair) until her Mama got home. Then Mama joined us with a black & blue skirt on her head.
I seriously can't even put into words how lucky I am to have this kid in my life. She and I had such fun. She says so many new words, and I swear she learns new ones every day.
The rest of the weekend was a whirlwind of traveling, which can be tricky with a two year old, as you might imagine. She did so well on the planes and in the airport. The next day was the conference, and she saw the CMTC doctor. Thankfully, he feels like her case is mild and will likely be only cosmetic. I could have kissed that man. After lunch, R and I tried to nap up in our hotel room (I kind of drifted off while we watched The Little Mermaid, but R wanted no part of napping). Then we went to the pool. Twice.
Why twice, you ask? Well...
Trip #1: We get all dressed in our suits, and hers has floaty things in it, so that she will float. Pretty much the cutest thing I've ever seen. I carry her down there, and we get in by the stairs. She does good for a bit, until she decides that she doesn't want me to help her, touch her, anything. "I do it!" "I got it!" amidst many, many tears. Or course, being the responsible adult, I could not just let go of her in the pool, so I had to set her on the side, where she put her head down on the ground and CRIED and CRIED. And then I cried, because apparently I cannot help it. :D I tried to comfort her, and eventually picked her up to go back up to the room. Thankfully we were the only ones in the pool area.
We get back to the room, and she is still sobbing. You know that kind of sobbing where you have to really catch your breath.... She then says "Swimming Pool!" and wants to go back. I'm like no fucking way (in my head). So I suggest we try to lay down, watch a movie, potty, play in the bathtub, anything else. Nope. Not interested! So I decided to take a different angle... I talked to her about how if we went back, she had to let me help her and hold her hand, because I didn't want her to get hurt. We talked a bit, and she calmed down, so we headed back to the pool.
Trip #2: This went much better. She jumped in to me from the side, made friends with another little girl, and we stayed there for quite a while. We sang Ring Around the Rosy many times and, and the other little girl shared her Little Mermaid toys with R, so it was much, much better. Her Mama joined us, and the three of us had a grand old time. We all left without tears this time. WINNER!
So every time we talked about when we got home and I had to go back to Colorado, I got all frickin' teary. I must have cried a dozen times while I was there, about not being near them, about worrying for R and my brother, about blah blah blah blah. Sheesh. I'm a damn wreck.
But all in all, I had a super fabulous time, and I am really glad I got to hang out with R. It's so important to me that I be a big part of her life, and getting to do stuff like this matters SO much.