Nigel's Power

Nigel's Power

You create waves of excitement
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Dear Nigel,

You are now a year and a half, you are running, talking, and making everyone around you laugh with your adorable and lovable personality. I am amazed on how big you are getting, smart you are getting and tall, too! A baby that can look past flaws that people think they have or don't have is something you do best and I appreciate that so much.

You never cease to amaze me.

I am writing to you once again to inform you of this “power” you have. The power of loving so much. This may seem odd to you, but I have noticed it as do many people. I talked about in my last letter how “It warms my heart to see my grandmothers face so full of life because of you.” I wanted to explain to you in that letter just what I meant. It may seem sad to hear this but I don’t know if you will ever truly know what it meant to her to see you learn and grow. You will see the pictures of her smiling face when you get older but you will never remember and witness the feelings behind that smile that I have as an almost 20-year-old.

The way she smiles at you now was how she did to me, my brothers and cousins. Whether it was something we did or said, the way she looks at you was the way we were all looked at as children. Seeing her still have that same look after all these years is the best thing ever. Her face really does look “full of life,” as I mentioned earlier.

As a one-year-old you walk into Whispering Knolls and think it is her house. You walk in with innocence, not knowing what you are about to do: Make her whole entire day. My grandmother (Yiayia) loves you like you are one of her own. After her fall, all she was told in physical therapy that made her stronger (mentally) was that she would have the strength to hold you and not have her arms hurt. Happily, she has reached her goal and can pick you up without any troubles! I wish you could see how happy you make her and everyone in the home with your adorable charm!

When I went to go visit Yiayia at the home with your Yiayia (my aunt Kathy), your mom, and my aunt Helen (your Thea Eleni), the other residents were jawed dropped because of how stinkin’ cute you look with your big eyes, long hair, and adorable sense of style (thanks to your mom and everyone who got you such cute clothes).

But I was quickly on the hunt to see my Yiayia. When I found her outside, she looked content and quiet while reading a book. She saw me and smiled so big and hugged me.

I then told her, “we have a surprise for you!” She wondered what I mean by “we,” and then you come walking in! When you walked, in she just ran up to you because she was so excited to see you. Her eyes were so full and so happy. Her body posture went from good to great, and her smile was so much larger. She picked you up and walked you inside. You ran up to this little brown box and took out a blow-up beach ball. I and everyone else kicked it as you attempted to throw it. My yiayia and I were chasing you and making you giggle up a storm. It was so nice seeing my yiayia get so active and change so drastically just after one visit.

She asks everyone “oh isn’t Nigel so adorable?” Nobody can disagree, because you are!

What I still find amazing is that even when you are not there, she still thinks of you. She participates in therapeutic actives that help her physically and mentally and in the end, she wins small stuffed animals that she saves for you. Every time she wins, she saves them behind a picture frame of our family and tells everyone who isn’t our family “do not touch them they are for the baby.”

My yiayia was there for you like everyone else in our family was for you, Nigel. She taught you how to say “light” in Greek. She was struggling with the grief of her husband passing which felt too soon for our whole family. You were there to comfort her and to help give her purpose. For the longest time, visiting you was her way of therapy. She was a different person around you and everyone loved seeing her so happy because for a while, she was very depressed.

The rest of the visit was so lovely; my favorite part was when she went to the bathroom down the hall I had to chase after you because you couldn’t leave without supervision. So I scooped you up and said “don’t worry, let’s wait for yiayia.” And when she came out of the bathroom, I put you down and you ran up to her and she smiled so big because she was not expecting it!

Thank you Nigel once again for your “power” your power of unconditional love. You create waves of excitement for the residents, our family, and of course my yiayia. The therapy she has provided will never amount to one visit with you. She is truly a family-lady and would do anything for all of us. Your presence puts all her troubles (and mine) at rest, for everything we think is wrong isn’t wrong when you are around. Thank you for helping my yiayia get through the toughest time in her life, I wish you could see the difference you make with her. I am glad I am writing to you so when you get older, you can read this and understand, in writing, just how much you mean to me, my yiayia and to our whole family.

We love you,

Your Nouna

Cover Image Credit: Naval Medical Center

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This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

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The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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14 Things You Relate To If You Grew Up WithOUT Any Cousins

*GASP* "What, you really don't have any cousins?"

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It always shocks every person who hears me state that I do not have any cousins. For some reason, this is just hard for people to really believe when it's actually not something impossible. I think we are all just so used to large families that it sounds weird when people say that they have no cousins. Yet, it is definitely a potential reality, and actually impossible if each of your parents is the only child to your grandparents.

Here are 14 things that you can relate to if you grew up without any cousins.

1. Nobody believes you when you say that you don't have any cousins

I'm serious, for the tenth time.

2. Your grandparents spoil you

With no other grandchildren to worry about, it's pretty easy to do.

3. You don't understand when people say that cousins are your first best friends

My best friend was my first best friend.

4. You and your siblings are always the youngest people at family events

This was simultaneosuly a good thing and a bad thing.

5. You get all of the attention at holidays

Since you're the youngest one around, then distant relatives are always doting over you.

6. Everything you do is deemed awesome by your extended family because there is nobody to compete with

It's much easier to be praised when you aren't being compared to someone similar to your age.

7. You don't know how to hold babies

You're never around them so why would you?

8. Family photos are pretty easy to coordinate

The less people, the easier.

9. Other family members spoil you just because 

Afterall, you are the only kid around...

10. The family will make comments regarding the potential for you to have a cousin as a justification for why they aren't doing something for you

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11. Birthdays are always a big deal

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12. If your parents' siblings own pets, then you refer to the animal as your cousin

Cat cousins, dog cousins, lizard cousins, and fish cousins can be pretty cool, actually.

13. Sometimes you dream of marrying into a big family

This is to ensure that your kids do grow up with cousins.

14. You appreciate the closeness of your tight-knit fam

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