The sun sets and I can only sight clusters of light glittering below from the bustling capital. My plane landed early in the evening in March this year and I was a bit tired from my long travel. It was four years since my last vacation and I was even more excited than before. Finally, I got to meet my niece in person.
She looked like a little angel who fell down from heaven. I saw her the very first day she was born, thanks to the internet anyway.
I took my carry on bag and quickly dragged my foot straight towards the passport control to avoid the long line, then I headed towards the conveyor to claim my checked in luggage. My heart is beating so fast that I can’t hide my excitement, smiling at every crew I met like the friendliest politician running for an office, with a tired looking face and undone hair. They might have thought I was over reacting- but I didn’t mind anything at all, I am just beaming with thrill and happiness no one knew.
I stepped out the exit door with curious eyes scanning people with different emotions meeting their loveones who came from abroad ; hugging, crying and laughing while ceaselessly talking with each other. I was looking for my sister and her family at the crowd but I can’t find them. Then I heard somebody called out my name from a distance. It was my sister who I last saw on her wedding day 7 years ago, smiling endlessly. Together with my brother-in-law, they came to take me from the airport with their mini angel.
We hugged so tight catching up about our long flights and all other stories.
I looked at my niece, and oh! what a light in a dark night indeed! The little angel, as I loved to call her, who doesn’t look like my sunkissed brown skin, gazed at me shyly then gave me her sweetest smile, I almost teared up. I took her from her mom and she came to me lovingly without any hesitation. I am sure she remembered the voice she kept on listening since birth even if she doesn’t still know me personally. I had sung her songs on video call almost everyday as long as I have the chance. Newborns can distinguished voices while they are growing.
She was born with a rare syndrome but you can’t figure it out because of her active physicality. She is never a boredom. She is the energy of a tired body.She is so lovely, I can’t stop staring at her, same with her which maybe due to curiousity for a new acquaintance.
After her dad stucked my things into the trunk of their car, we drove on to the place where we will be staying for two days before travelling to the countryside to stay at our parent’s home for few weeks.
The second time grandparents were too eager to meet her for the very first time. They kept calling and asking what time are we arriving, what day are they going to see their only granddaughter. You can sense, the happiness in their voices.My nephew, who live with them can’t hide his excitement as well. They are 10 years apart and the only kids in the family. They bonded together through the internet which we always wanted to happen.
August of 2015,my niece was born via caesarian. Few days later, my sister and her husband were so worried because doctors found out something was wrong with the baby. They waited two long years for that gift of life so they wanted to give her the best. They did a lot of tests to rule out what must have been wrong with their newborn. There are always unexpected circumstances in life that we need to be aware and accept wholeheartedly.
It’s just relieving that they both work in hospitals so they knew what needs to be done.
After all the tests including DNA, a final diagnosis was laid out. The baby had Jacobsen syndrome. It wasn’t in our family nor her dad’s. It’s a syndrome that affects 1 in 100,000 newborns. It is caused by a deletion of a genetic material of chromosome 11. It’s not inherited, rather it occurs as a random event during the formation of reproductive cells or in early fetal development. Although people affected with this syndrome doesn’t typically have history of the disorder, they can pass on the chromosome deletion to their children.
I admire both of my sister and her husband because they took it possitively. “It’s the best gift for us so why be sad if that was the case,” my sister mentioned. They love their daughter so much and they are willing to do everything for her welfare.
The first two years was the hardest for them because she was less responsive and her body was flaccid, she can’t even hold her neck. My sister took a year of leave from work just to take care of her, while the husband worked overtime to compensate their needs. They took her husband’s mom to help them when she went back to her regular job.
Understanding and helping each other is the best care one can gift a loved one. It was their unwavering love and patience that gave better results.
My niece after another year, had started uttering words though unclear unlike the normal 3- year olds. She became more physically active.She started crawling then took some few steps until she got up well. It was really a great relief for both of them. Now,she is unstopabble, running here and there, spreading her toys all around the house including all other things she can grasped.
When I spoke and sung to her via messenger, I was so happy to hear how she pronounced my name like an old woman without teeth. It’s so cute, I can’t stop grinning. God is really good! And nothing is impossible.
One morning during our vacation, she woke up at her grannies’ home, run towards the chicken’s coop barefooted and began feeding them. She is quite curious and observant, she took the chicken’s food where she saw her grandpa had it in stock. Her phrase will always be,” I do it,”and if you interfered with her, she would be mad at you.
At almost five, she seems compensating her earlier years of passive development. Her mom and dad just let it be because they wanted her to enjoy growing up despite of her situation.
She is hyperactive but she shows compassion at a very young age. She shares her smile to any kid she met. She played with them. She run with them and talk to them even if she doesn’t speak their language as if she understood everything. Kids will never judge any language as long as they enjoyed each other’s company. She’s luckier since she doesn’t resemble the physical appearance of somebody with that syndrome. They can’t bully her ,as I have observed with a lot of kids nowadays who loves bullying by physical judgement alone . She is an exceptional kid who loves people.
What was even wonderful to recall was , she called her playmates babies when in fact she was the baby. And one thing I love most was her love for music, so much that she even complain without it . It was really lovely being with her even just for a short time.
My vacation has come to an end and I need to travel back to work. She doesn’t love parting, so was I. But it is life’s reality. They have two more weeks vacation before flying back to their home.
Same as they took me from the airport, three of them led me to the departure area. I never wanted anyone waiting like me while queuing so I immediately let them go after taking my luggages. I even prefer going alone but they insisted to accompany me. Goodbyes and see you soon for me is better to just say at home with no emotional outbursts .
For more than a decade abroad and back home four times, I was used to it. I will anyway cry my heart out silently during my solitary moments, I am not showy. I want them to remember me as the happy and positive daughter,sister and aunt, who keeps a smile on her face and make fun things always- not the emotional and vulnerable woman,hhhh.
One of the saddest part of sending offs is, you don’t know when will you see each other again. I met my niece, I saw my family and some relatives- my vacation was worthwhile. But I can’t explain the feeling of parting ways again. It’s just between sad and happy ,maybe. Let it be anyway.
I waved at them until their car became invisible to my eyes. My niece didn’t even glanced at me because she doesn’t want me to go. I also wanted to stay more but I needed to work.
She still religiously continues having therapies regularly and she was enrolled to a special school with children of slight problems since doctors said she doesn’t have the severe case. I promised her one day, we will meet again, then we’ll sing, travel and play like we did.
I became more eager talking to her on video calls now that she knew me better. She always say hi auntie with a big smile and a wave. She tells what she’s doing and we threw duck kisses everytime we end our calls.
It’s the little things in life that makes us happy. “Whoever is happy will make others happy.”-Anne Frank–
I’m sure, I will be seeing her again soon.
Thank you for reading…