I've been sitting here trying to write a blog post that encompasses the last two months and I'm finding it impossible to express everything that's inside of me. My sister Eni and her daughter, Maya, went back to Sydney last night after visiting us for the last two months and I am overcome with sadness by their departure.
Maya is just 3 months younger than Miles and she became like a big sister to him during this trip. On the first few days Miles and Maya barely acknowledged each other, but by the end of the trip they were best friends. There was much love between them (and some healthy rivalry too).
Miles watched Maya intently, trying to understand what she was doing and how she was doing it. Eventually he started imitating everything she did, from playing with the DVD buttons to fully crawling. With Maya's help, Miles started exploring every room in the house, not just the ones we were in. He started opening more kitchen cabinets and taking out pots and pans, not just the Tupperware. He started walking around the coffee table, attempting to climb up on the sofas, crawling underneath the dining room table, and pointing at everything wanting to know what it is.
In the mornings when they would wake up, they would call for each other from different rooms and them come crawling towards each other in the kitchen, smiling, and pointing in excitement at the sight of each other. They hugged and held hands on those rare moments when it was quiet and we wondered what they were up to. Sometimes they fought for the same toy or for their mama's attention, but they always made up as if nothing happened. At times, Miles would look up at Maya adoringly, smiling with love. This afternoon, he went looking for her in her room. He was yelling for her, I think, and seemed a little confused when he walked into the office to find her crib was missing and Tia Eni's bed wasn't there anymore. It broke my heart.
So when I was feeding Miles his dinner and it was just the two of us, no Maya riding the little fire truck, running away from her mom and happily yapping to herself, I felt sad and the house seemed huge and lonely. She was a great influence on Miles and a wonderful companion to him. As he was to her. Miles is a pretty fearless baby and on this trip, Maya started letting go of some of her fears and began walking! She also started calling everything "aya" ( a short version of her name) and after Panama everything became "agua" (water). She developed some pretty adorable habits too, like tapping her shoulder to her cheek and smiling sweetly to get a reaction from you. And she came up with that all on her own!
I won't lie, at times it was hard to see Miles and Maya together because she is everything that I thought my baby would be. And at times I felt myself wanting to give her more attention because she is so cute and so aware and engaging. Seeing them together made his delays more obvious and painful to me. But it never made me love him any less or wish he wasn't who he is. When I look at Miles, I see a perfect little boy who is working hard and achieving his goals at the exact rate that he should be. I recognize that I am the one who often needs to work on having more patience and letting go of certain expectations. I learned a lot from these moments watching the kids together and from seeing my sister with her daughter. It's hard for every parent, whether your kid has special needs or not.
My sister was so good with the kids, playing and carrying on with their silliness. Miles loves his Tia Eni. From the minute he saw her when she arrived at our house two months ago, he gave her a huge smile and stretched his arms out so she would hold him. And that's how it was the whole time, Miles always had hugs and kisses (and a few painful bites) for Tia Eni.
Yep....a lot has happened in the last two months. We celebrated Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year and Three Kings Day. We played in the park, visited the museum, went to music class, learned some sign language, went hiking, met up with new and old friends and celebrated both Maya's and Eni's birthdays. Together we traveled to Panama and went swimming in the Pacific Ocean and the pool, we played in the sand, slept in hammocks, met other cousins and aunts and uncles, ate yuca and patacon and other typical Panamanian foods and got lots of smooches from all the grandparents.
During these last two months, my house has been a mess of toys and baby food and bottles and diapers and tired parents and screaming children and I loved it! I loved all of it, even when the screaming children and stressed out parents drove me crazy. I still loved it because they filled my house with joyful energy and my heart with love. And even though I am sad that they are gone, I am happy for all the memories we made, all the pictures we took and the time we shared. I will treasure it and I'll start planning our next trip to Sydney so we can continue the craziness in their home turf!