Today I went down to do this, and upon leaving knew that Sean was who I would be thankful for today.
Sean is an amazing young boy. He is, at his core, a genuinely caring person. At just five years old he evidences more empathy and generosity than some adults I know. He is sincere and sweet. I watched him defer the game he was playing to his younger sister, Riley, and at one point go over to his baby sister Ella and just kiss her out of the blue. He is intelligent, clever and creative, coming up with his own stories and games. Sean is so fun to be around, and one of the aspects of him that I love most is that he wholeheartedly appreciates time you spend with him. He is present in his play and talks with you, seemingly wise beyond his years.
Sean was the first baby born after my mom passed away. He was one of the first real reasons for my family to be happy after such loss and sadness, and I will always be thankful for him for bringing so much light into our lives. My father absolutely adores him, as do we all. While my mother did not know him in this life, I know she is so proud of my brother and sister-in-law for how well they are raising him. He has a lot of my brother in him, but is still his own person. She would love him madly, and so do I.
When I said goodbye to him this afternoon he gave me a "squeeze", putting his two hands on the sides of my cheeks after a hug. He used to do that when he was much younger. It was such an unexpected, sweet gesture and I honestly had to catch my breath. I thought about how big he's getting, how that might have been the last or one of the last "squeezes" I ever get from him. Sean, of course, was back to his video game and unaware of the sentimental moment his aunt was having. Today I am thankful for that squeeze, for all the squeezes, and for everything that makes Sean the amazing nephew that he is.
Sean and I caught in a candid moment on Christmas