I love this family. I love the family gatherings, the way all the cousins get along, the way there is someone for everyone and no one is ever left out. I love the noise all the kids make laughing and running around like crazy, from the older ones running in and out to the younger ones running around to see where the best place to hide is in their ritual game of hide and seek. I love their bonds.
When we found out Aiden was deaf, one of my biggest worries was how he would communicate with extended family and how much he was going to miss out on. There was no doubt his cousins would accept him for who he was and treat him just like the rest, but I had MANY, MANY sleepless nights wondering how he would keep up. I was scared he wouldn't have the same experiences my older two had, that he'd be left behind, not able to communicate with his cousins, or able to participate in all the games they play ... how would he know where they were running off to and what they were all laughing at or talking about? Many tears were shed over this alone.
and in the same sense, I love how each one of his cousins have come up to me many times with, "Oh my gosh Aunt Tammy, Aiden just said (fill in the blank)!" or "Guess what word I just taught Aiden to say!" or "Aunt Tammy, Aiden's CI fell off and I put it back on!" or, in pure excitement, "Aunt Tammy, Aiden heard me from all the way downstairs and he listened to what I said!"
So to ALL of his cousins, I send a huge THANK YOU. Thank you for being Aiden's advocates, his teachers, his supporters, but best of all, for being such great cousins.