Aunts have a very sparkly approach to their nieces and nephews, spoiling them in every way possible. It is simply their specialty. It’s in their genes. Inherently unique. They allow everything, anytime and anywhere. And that is why my kids loved Iza way too much. “To the moon and back.” Around the Earth. Back again. Kissed her all day. Hugged her. And wanted sleepovers at her condo every night. Mentioned moving in a few times.
My sister was amazing to my little munchkins. She let them eat unlimited parowki (hot dogs in Polish), salami or ham without bread, Havarti cheese, salmon and soups. She gave them Haagen Daaz coffee ice cream before lunch. COFFEE ice cream for toddlers. Loaded with caffeine and sugar.Why? Because she didn’t see caffeine or sugar as a toddler mental villain which could potentially create a very calm or demonic living being within minutes.
She let them watch unlimited episodes of Thomas and Friends, Cars and Paw Patrol. She never ran out of First Aid kit essentials. Bath and Body Works lotions or soaps. Lavender scented fragrances and Moonlight Path body sprays. Her favorite. Eventually she stocked up on juice, fruit snacks, napkins, baby wipes, hand soap and of course those colorful MM’s and gummy bears. Iza always had them available and quite honestly, we should, too. In our cars, kitchens and living rooms. After a tough day, create a chocolate rainbow in your hand, swallow and watch your stress diffuse. The yummy smooth chocolate mixed with peanuts and BAM! A much better day.
And yes, bedtime went out the window. Didn’t quite fit into Iza’s life schedule. She encouraged a more non-child friendly bedtime routine similar to hers. Stay up late with a bowl of MM’s or gummy bears close to midnight and let your body naturally reach pure exhaustion. (About the time a toddler turns into a non-recognizable zombie which you doubt is your child. Ha!) Only an aunt like Iza would break all the rules, not take any suggestions from her niece’s and nephew’s biological mother (ME) and for sure correct my parenting style when she felt a firm discipline tactic coming.
“Don’y yell at him. He’s only 3.” Ahhhhhhh!
“Lana doesn’t need a nap right now. She’s watching The Chew.”
Oh the joys of having my sister as the coolest aunt on the planet. Can’t compete with such a thrilling childhood they enjoyed at her condo. No rules. Minimal discipline. No naps. Late bedtimes. Great food. Yummy snacks. Caffeine and sugar whenever needed. Lots of dancing. Loud music from the 80’s. And tons of cuddling, unlimited kisses, hugs and overflowing love. Plenty of that from her heart. She always made them smile and exhausted them from tickles. Priceless.
Iza was amazing and my fragile heart crumbles when I tell my kids why she’s not here. They want their young, fun and loving aunt here with them. They want to see her. Hear her. Love her. Cuddle with her. Laugh with her. Talk to her. Hold her hand. And just be near her. Right now. Today. Tomorrow. While living their childhood. Enjoying every moment. Every day. Every time. Everywhere. With Iza beside them.
“She’s in heaven with Jesus and all the angels.”
“She’s happy, safe and free.”
“No more boo-boos.”
“Her body doesn’t hurt anymore.”
“She is eating MM’s with God and her grandma.” – Their favorite answer.
“She smiles all day long.”
And the emotional challenge begins. The tears come down. Slowly. Then faster. And then they don’t stop. They just keep coming. God takes over…
“When can I see her again, mommy?” Dylan asks often.
“You might see her in your dreams. You could look at her pictures. And remember, she always hears you and listens to your prayers. And if you want to call her, use your heaven telephone. Anytime. Anywhere.” I answer.
“Oh. So can I go to heaven tomorrow?” Dylan continues.
And then that dense heartache overcomes your fragile core. Once again. You are lost for words. What do you say? How can you keep him from crying while keeping your tears from worrying him. Hoping for that magical mommy strength to shine in front of your son or daughter. This is not easy in any way.
Sadness is so powerful. It’s part of life. However, explaining a dreadful decade-long cancer death to a sister’s 4 year old nephew is NOT supposed to be part of life. No one’s life. Shouldn’t be. And it is. It continues to be.
Cancer will never make sense. It shouldn’t take lives like it does. Daily. Weekly. Thousands of human lives yearly. A latitude of unanswered questions. Who will provide those answers? Maybe an herb will deplete it. Perhaps a magical drug. Doctors are figuring it out. Research is being done worldwide. All while families are being torn by its existence. Searching for clarity. Sugar coating the truth to little sweethearts. Those who are too young to comprehend CANCER. Those who seek their aunt in their dreams because heaven took her. Lets hope for that miracle to come along. SOON. VERY SOON.
My sister awaits that miracle for others while making rainbows in the sky. Reminding her siblings’ children of her love arching from heaven.
My sister’s heart resembled a beautiful glistening rainbow. She made my kids laugh, smile and wake up excited for another fun day. She hugged them often and kissed them all over. She was their sunshine. Their happiness. Their arc of colorful love. And they loved living those rainbow days with their aunt.
Thank you for being my kids’ rainbow.
Love you forever!
To the moon and back. And back again.