Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Family Dynamics

No change in life is quite as drastic as going from being pregnant to being a mother. Since I was one of the first of my friends and family members to undergo this change, I've been lucky enough to get to observe it second hand many times. Each time I'm overwhelmed with emotion, both for my loved one and for myself. I have a new little person to love, and my relationship with those friends and family is now inexplicably changed and deepened. For me, the first moments I've spend with someone once they've become a mother are some of my most cherished memories.

Unfortunately, seven year old boys don't always see things the same exact way.

My sister-in-law Allison, shown here doing her best bunny impression, has always been a special person in my kids' heart.

They call her Yani, because when Sam was little he couldn't say Allison, and Allie came out as Yani. It stuck, and now lots of people call her that! She came down to the ATL a few weeks before Lucy was born to help out, and then she moved with us to Philly. For about a year she lived with us, and even when she moved out she still lived very nearby. Leaving her was pretty much the hardest part of leaving Philadelphia.

Now, three years later, Yan is a mom. I was beyond thrilled. So much so that I threw Lucy in the car and drove out to visit her in the middle of the night. And so I could take photos of my lovely new niece!

Sam hasn't had the chance to see his Yan or her new baby since then, so over Easter we planned a little sleepover for some good old fashioned one-on-one time. Plus we were going to being seeing her almost every day while she was home at other family gatherings. Just the though of seeing his beloved aunt so often was making Sam crazy with excitement.

As soon as she walked in the door, my kids started yelling and jumping all around, which naturally upset my precious little four month old niece. She was startled and started crying so badly that Allison had to go upstairs and lock herself away for a few minutes to calm her down. This did not go over well with my seven-and-under set. They practically tried to break down the door she was hiding behind.

After some explaining and some more waiting, they finally got to see their Yan. And lo, it was glorious. During the baby's nap time it was business as usual. Games, dancing, treats. But then when the baby would wake up Yani had to take a break and go be a mom for a while. At one point Sam looked up at me with his lower lip quivering and said, 'Things were better before Yan had that baby.'

I started to tell him that one day his little cousin will grow up and they can all play together. I started to explain to him that his Yan still loves him in a very special way. But after looking at his face, I knew nothing I said would matter, so I just hugged him hard.

That one moment aside, they still had an amazing visit. She slept in his room with him and then took him to school the next morning. Where he immediately took out his frustrations on his teacher and guidance counselor and classmate by kicking them.

So I guess we'll keep going to therapy a little while longer!

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She'll always be their Yani. 

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Arizaphale said...

Oh this is heartbreaking. Keep up that therapy...and book me in while you're there...

Amy Jo said...

I think I'm going to sign myself up soon! I felt so awful for those poor kids, but Sam in particular. I don't think he ever looked so dismayed. They do have a really special bond, though, and hopefully with a little maturity on his part they can still be as close as ever!