I am so lucky to have three very special nieces.  Each of them are so cute and unique in their own ways.  My oldest niece, Mandy, is an amazing little girl.  She has such unique relationships with all of us.  Uncle Teddy and her are tight.  They have special secret made up games that only they know the rules to.  Her bond with my dad, her papa, is strong.  It reminds me of the relationship I had with my mom's step-father.  It didn't matter at all that we were not actually related by blood.  She and Maxie had a special bond starting from before Maxie was even born...from before most people even knew I was pregnant with him.  And, although she was really rooting for a girl before he got here, she loved him all the same when he turned out to be a perfect little boy.  Now she has two little sisters (her daddy has one too) but at the time that Maxie was born, it was the closest she was getting to being a big sister.  She was loving and helpful.

When Maxie passed, she felt it deeply...I could tell.  She looked at Teddy and I with so much love and concern and talked about Max all of the time.  She begged her mommy for months to take her to the cemetery so that she could visit him.  How hard it must have been (and probably still is) to make sense of this loss.  I can barely do it myself and I am not six years old.  I think the last time she had seen Max was at her fifth birthday party - where she mostly ignored all of her family in favor of friends but showed Maxie off to all of the little girls.  This was a great loss for Mandy, no doubt.

At Mo's bris, Mandy got right up front where the action was, like she did at Maxie's bris.  I worried about her because I remember my brother's bris scared the daylights out of me and I wasn't even in the same room.  I asked her grandma (my stepmother) where Lyndsey and Camille were and she told me that they were seeing Kelly Clarkson (?) at the Hollywood Bowl.  "How come Mandy didn't go?", I asked.  "Because she wanted to be here", she replied.  I was not at all surprised.  She is special.  There is no way I would have made the same choice at six years old.  No way.

Yesterday, my stepsister came over with both of her girls - six year old Mandy and five month old Camille.  Mandy loves babies but she was a little stand offish with Mo when she first got here.  She asked, "What's this baby's name again?".  I know she knows.  I can understand why she wouldn't want to commit.  Plus, she has her own baby sisters now.  She can get her baby fix at home.  Slowly she became more interested.  When her mom asked if she wanted to hold him, she got pretty excited.  I told her she could only hold him if she knew his name.  "Mo", she muttered under her breath.

How funny is it, by the way, that Mo looks as big as Camille in this photo?  I am thinking it is an optical illusion...but maybe not.  She is actually a big baby too.

Later she found one of Maxie's baby books.  A photo album that I made for the grandparents for Mothers/Fathers Days two years ago.  She went through all of the pictures declaring, "How Cute!" at each one.  She really loved Maxie.  She got to a photo of Maxie that looked just like Mo and said, "Which baby is this?  Maxie or Mo?"  "It's Maxie of course", I told her.  "Oh", she said with a smile, "he looks just like Mo".  And afterwards, she asked to see what was in the locket I was wearing.  I showed her that it was an engraved photo of Maxie.  "You should get one for Mo too", she said.  I think she is warmed up to the little guy.  I knew she would.  I'm sure he will love her the way Maxie did.  She is an excellent big cousin.

I love our May-May! I just hope she doesn't grow up too quick.  


jessica said...

Just found your blog through Lanie and I'm so glad I visited. What a sweet girl Mandy is and I can imagine that all of this has been hard for her to process. As you said, it's hard for us to process ourselves. I lost a daughter and my heart breaks for you and all that your family has gone through.

Jayden's Mommy said...

Beautiful. She is adorable. As soon as I look at "Mo" in the picture with his cousin I thought Wow he is a big big baby . He looks about 3 months olds. So handsome just like Maxie.