Being that Claire is an only child, unless she’s at school or on a date with her pals, she is most often surrounded by adults. She’s always been great at self-entertaining, and when she is a part of what’s going on, the activity is often amended to suit her needs. As we visited my family last week in sunny California, the dynamics were a little different.
My two sweet nephews are 7 and 9. They are extremely fond of their little cousin, and doted on her the entire week. She was included in all of their activities, and it was wonderful to see them having so much fun together. As we all enjoy being outdoors, we went on lots of hikes and walks, and generally spent as much time as possible exploring the world around us. There were lots of occasions where the boys would scramble on ahead, leaving Claire to figure out a way to catch up. It was interesting to observe these scenarios, as Claire was undeterred in her attempts to do what they were doing. Oftentimes, she was successful, and I was proud of her perseverance. (Even if I had more than a few heart attacks!)
And then, there are times when the solitude was welcomed. As I mentioned earlier, Claire does enjoy her alone time. Even in the middle of all the running and hopping and skipping and jumping, there were times when she didn’t worry about trying to keep up. And that was nice to see, too.
I was reminded of my sister (the youngest of 3), when she would complain about us being up ahead all the time. My brother and I would always climb to the highest peak, or run the fastest, or jump the farthest- leaving Jessi behind with Mom or Dad to console her. With my “new” pair of eyes, I realized this must have been very frustrating for her. Yet, in the same token, that element of having to “keep up” breeds stamina. It teaches persistence, it creates backbone, it drives willpower – all of these characteristics that I observe in my sister today, as an adult.
The visit was one to treasure. We hadn’t seen each other in over a year, and this was the longest amount of time we’d been able to spend together in 10 years. My only wish is that we don’t go that long again without seeing each other. Not only do I simply miss my family, but I relish the relationship Claire has with her cousins. They will share a history, and as for Claire trying to keep up? It’s healthy to be challenged and supported at the same time. Look how great her Aunt Jessi turned out! 😉