You probably don’t know this but I have several nieces and nephews, and I’m incredibly proud of them. When they were babies, I wondered if any of them would have similar struggles to me as they got older. Not that this would change how I felt about them, but I know how much harder it can be to be unique and have learning differences.
One of my nephews reminds me of myself as a kid because he has some of the same sensitivities and some of the same reactions that I had. I think he may be on the Autism Spectrum. He is a good kid who is incredibly smart, he works hard, and is a pleasure to be around. I’m not always sure what to say to him because he has his own life experiences that are not the same as mine were growing up.
He has to learn his own lessons throughout his life. As a result, I’m not going to try to teach him or correct him about how he “should” be. I will try to listen to him without trying to fix his problems. I will continue to tell him that I’m proud of him and how hard he works. I will give him space when he needs to decompress and not take it personally when he doesn’t want to spend time with me. I will remember he is growing up fast and learning new things all the time.
Speaking of having a lot to learn, I’m still in the process of learning how to “be” an aunt. Will I ever be a typical Auntie? Probably not. Do I wish I was more typical? Yes, because I think life might be easier. But being different doesn’t change how proud I am of all my nieces and nephews. It will never change the fact that I want the best for them and how very much I care about each of them.