Kevin and I use a term internally “cousin envy” – but tonight without really thinking about it I used it in conversation. I wasn’t asked to define it at the time, but as I drove home I wondered what I would have said had I been asked. To me cousin envy is in part appreciation of the abilities of Grace’s cousins. It is wonderment at their abilities, the way they use their hands, how and what they play with, their imaginations, their vocabulary, their running, the questions they ask, their communication skills, what they eat even. It is also not unusual in a family situation for one of us to say to the other….did you see that? or isn’t that amazing? or can you believe he knows what that means? Most of the time I think we try to keep our awe of the abilities of others around us to ourselves…it just doesn’t seem to translate well.
The other part – the envy I guess- is about wanting those things for Grace – wanting for her to have those abilities. Wanting her to be able to join in the fun with equal excitement, not necessarily having to adapt it to her, not slowing down her cousins just so she can be included. But the thing is, that’s what we do. That is what Grace needs. In a lot of ways the burden falls on them to adapt to her and I never want that to take away from their enjoyment of cousin time. So far, I think its working out ok.
The picture is of Grace (not feeling exceptionally cooperative) and my nephews- Adam, beside Grace, Nathan in the middle, and Eli on the end – aren’t they amazing (and totally cute)?