As long as my hands are hurting today anyways, I decided I just couldn't wait any longer to write about my wonderful recent visit to my cousin and her family in Ohio.
I volunteered to go out east to help my good friend RK drive back to Boulder (In related news: OMG SO GLAD TO HAVE HER BACK HOME!!! YAY!!!). When I looked at our route between Pennsylvania and Colorado, I noticed that it pretty much passed right by my where my family lives in Ohio. It seemed a shame to be so close and not get to see my family, because I hadn't seen my cousin or my aunt in about five years, and I had never even met my cousin's two-year-old daughter. So, I talked RK into buying me a ticket to Ohio instead of Pennsylvania, and I went a few days early so I could spend some time with my family before RK picked me up for the long drive back to Colorado.
I really enjoyed my visit with my family. My cousin's two-year-old, little KF, was a delight. She was so adorable and so loving. She had me wrapped around her little finger less than a minute after I walked in the door. I'm so excited that I got a chance to get to know her and spend some time with her. We played with all her toys. We went shopping for new shoes - because this little girl loves shoes already!! (Why are baby shoes so adorable???) We played at Gymboree. We went to the park and fed the ducks. She shared her pretzel snacks with me. She painted me an ice cream cone (which is now hanging on my fridge) at playgroup. Little KF's smile was infectious - it made me happy just to be with her.
It was also really nice for me to get to spend some time with my cousin, KF. She is my mom's sister's daughter and just a few years older than me - which makes her like the big sister I never had. And, like any good big sister, she can certainly give me a hard time! (When I was 3 she told me she was going to steal my legs and I totally believed her!) But she can also give me a lot of good advice. We spent several days talking about life, jobs, motherhood, relationships, and RA, as KF was diagnosed about a year before I was. She has been a huge support for me (mostly via email and care packages) since my diagnosis two years ago. So I was really happy to get to actually spend some time with her.
KF hasn't got it all figured out yet either, and her life certainly isn't perfect, but she did give me a lot of hope. She's raising her daughter and working part time. And, despite pain in her hands, she has her own crochet project, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, where she makes the most adorable toys. And her lovely husband even offered to watch little KF one evening so that KF and I could have a girls night out - we got our nails done and drank wine on the patio and it was lovely!
It was also really nice to get to know KF's husband a bit better, and it was fun to watch my Aunt and Uncle interact with little KF. Talk about melting your heart - Nana and Pappap sure love that little girl! I'm really grateful that I got this opportunity to visit with my family and learn from my cousin (a.k.a. adopted big sister). I hope I get to see them all again sooner rather than later!!