I absolutely adore seeing Paul's Aunty's, who live in Liverpool and have done all of their life. Their sister, Paul's Mum, sadly passed away whilst I was pregnant with Elin (she would have doted on her) but whilst they are alive, a small part of her lives on in their unique scouse humour, love of family life, big hearts and ability to knock up a good spread for a family 'do at the drop of a hat (despite both being over the age of 80!!). They absolutely love Elin and go completely gooey over her in the way only elderly relatives can. Today we went to a family gathering with them as Paul's cousin and his wife were over from Australia with their two little girls. It was great to see everyone under the one roof and Elin thoroughly enjoyed the sounds of everyone's voices, the laughter and even the Liverpool game on in the background (of course). I was pleased they all got to see her in a good mood, as the last time they were over for a family wedding, she had a seizure (in the Church!) and spent the Reception completely out of it, which upset Paul's two lovely Aunty's greatly. Anyway, Paul's cousin's two girls were fascinated with Elin. They performed little dances for her, stroked her hands and followed me when I needed to feed her, curious about the feeding tube and her medication. The older one is five, gorgeous and very bright. She was hugely interested in Elin and inquisitive too. The younger one is only two, equally gorgeous, but being that bit younger the only concession she made towards Elin's condition was the occasional raise of an eyebrow. Mostly she just brought her toys and tried to hug her- or jump on her :-) So back to the older one, who finally got around to asking how old Elin was. Caitlin told her, "she's five". She furrowed her brow and I knew what was coming "But I'm five and she's much smaller than me". She then continued to play with her, expressing occasional bemusement that she wasn't holding her head up. Then, a pretty random but insightful question "What was her first word, then??" by now I sensed that her Mum was getting a bit stressed, I really felt for her- you can't stop a child once they're in full flow! But I didn't mind the questioning at all. It was just hard to know what to say, how to explain to such a young mind? "Well she hasn't really said her first word yet" I replied. Again, she frowned "But most children have said a word by the time they are five" (slightly stressed silence now from all adults dotted around us) "That's true" I said, at a loss now of what else to say as all eyes in the room swivelled back towards me. If Im honest, despite being used to this by now, my heart did start to feel a little heavy in my chest, as I saw Elin through the eyes of this little girl and her innocent questioning. But then- before the familiar lump in my throat could begin to form- she brightly smiled and in the only way a small child can, lifted my spirits as quickly as they had begun to sink. Shrugging her shoulders she simply said " Well, I just think she's very shy". Then she leaned over her, gave her a kiss then skipped off to carry on playing with her Hello Kitty. As my heart melted slightly at the joyful simplicity, unknowing kindness and lovely innocence of her statement, one of Paul's amazing Aunty's leaned over and whispered to me, conspiratorially "Out of the mouths of babes eh love". Absolutely. I've said it before and I'll say it again. The world could learn a lot from seeing things through the eyes and mind of a child. It would definitely be a better place.
Elin and Caitlin and their cousins from down under.
The Liver Legends themselves at family wedding last year. If I have half their energy and lust for life when I'm in my 80's I'll be one happy lady :-)