This is my niece Becca. She is truly a beautiful young lady, both inside and out! To give you a little bit of background, my sister Jenny, was entering her last trimester with her when I found out I was pregnant with Skylar. Both Jenny and I were excited to be having children so close in age together and we knew that they would grow up being really close. We never realized how special their bond would be. Shortly after Becca was born, my sister’s first husband left and had very little to do with Becca for her 1st year of life. Becca quickly attached to Chris, many times calling him “daddy”. Our hearts broke as we just could not believe that someone would not want to be around this precious baby as much as possible. We helped take care of Becca a lot the first year as Jenny had to return to work in order to support them. We loved having her as much as we did and we would often comment how we never realized that we could love a child as though she were our own even though she wasn’t.
Less than a month before Becca turned one, my sister met Jeff. When Jeff met Becca it was definitely love at first sight for both of them. I was so overwhelmed at how this man could love this child as though she were his very own. Jenny and Jeff married about a year and a half later after the divorce was finalized. Jenny and Jeff went on to have 2 more children (Ben and Emily) in the next couple of years. In October of 2004, Jenny was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer. She underwent surgery, chemo and reconstruction over the next 8 months. The reason I tell you all of this is that I believe that going through these 2 very difficult trials in life (divorce of her parents & her mom having cancer) helped shape Becca into the tenderhearted & very loving young lady she is today. Jenny started her own blog a few months ago about the things that she wants to check off her “life list” and the lessons she has learned. You can click here to read all about Jenny’s adventures which include having another baby, even though she was told she couldn’t have any more children after chemo. She is also listed on the side of my blog as “Jenny Meyerson”. Be sure to check out the video she made dancing in front of the Washington D.C. monuments. Skylar and Hailey love it so much that they ask to watch it daily.
So back to our story….Becca was 4 when Skylar received her autism diagnosis. They had played together for years and even when Skylar regressed and withdrew from all of us, Becca never stopped trying to play and communicate with her. Even though Skylar couldn’t speak to her, Becca never left her side. Becca’s presence was actually very calming for Skylar. She was one of the few people that Skylar would let hold her hand. Whenever we went out in public, Becca would take Skylar’s hand and stick with her.
As the years have passed, Becca has remained Skylar’s best buddy! She has always had an extraordinary amount of patience with Skylar & one of the things I love so much is that she is rarely embarrassed by Skylar’s outbursts when we are out in public. In fact, she is fiercely protective.
Several years ago, Skylar swam with our local Special Olympics chapter. My sister and her family were in town and when it came time to go to swim practice, Becca said she wanted to come along. Practice was held at the indoor aquatic center that was right across the street from our house. Becca and I sat by the pool that Skylar was in and watched as she swam back and forth without putting her face in the water. Becca laughed and commented on how funny Skylar was about getting her face wet. How she would rather do anything than have to put her face in the water. As she continued to swim, Becca struck up a conversation that I will NEVER forget.
Becca: Aunt JuJu? Do you think that God will ever heal Skylar’s brain?
Me: I sure hope so. I pray for that every day.
Becca: Me too. I’ve been praying for that for a long time. JuJu, I just really love her!
*At this point I looked over and could see the tears in her eyes, which of course got me going too.
Me: I love her too baby! But what I do know, is that if it isn’t in God’s will to heal her here on Earth, that I will love her just the same. Will you?
Becca: Of course! I will always love her! I just don’t like to see her frustrated and I hate it when people make fun of her.
Me: Me too buddy! Unfortunately there are always going to be people that are unkind to those that they see as “different”. I’m not sure why they do that, but there is no excuse for it. What is important is that if you see people doing that at your school that you tell them it’s wrong and very mean.
Becca: I tell people a lot that I have a cousin with Autism and that she has the most amazing memory.
Me: She sure does! I’m glad that you tell people about Skylar’s good qualities. She really has a lot!
I think I always knew that Becca loved Skylar, but after this conversation I realized how much she truly cares about her. For a girl, who at the time was 11 years old, to say that she prays for Skylar’s healing but will love her no matter what really gave me hope. Hope that other people could be just as accepting of Skylar as Becca is. Hope that others will see the good things about her, not only the “different” things. And hope, that there will be people that stand up for her and protect her even when I can’t be there to do that.
We recently moved back to Arizona after being away for 9 years. We are within a short driving distance from Jenny & her family. When we told the girls that we were moving here, they were thrilled! Skylar kept repeating over & over how close Becca was going to be. She loves all of her cousins, but she has such a special bond with Becca. I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe it’s because they are so close in age. Maybe it’s because Becca is the 1st kid she met. Maybe it’s because Becca has been with her through everything, especially the scary times. I like to think that God gave us Becca because He knew that Skylar needed her to love her and accept her for the way she is. Can you imagine having someone like that? It is my prayer that all of you have your very own Becca! I know that our Becca has made a world of difference in our lives!