The Boss is officially 5 years old. We had a small family gathering because of the whole being displaced situation. She has many friends at school, kids like her who she has made bonds and connections with. My biggest fears in life is Grace surviving in the typical world. There is only so long that I can protect her and keep her away from the typical world. Boss is not a boss around typical kids. It is actually heart breaking to watch, she escapes reality a bit. You can see her confidence level decrease. So, this is why I worry.
One of my closest friends, she is more like a sister to me, has a daughter Reilly, Reilly is 4. She is the typical child with a capital T. She loves princesses, dress up, pretend play, girly conversation, drawing flowers, and dolls. Most of all she loves Grace. She just understands her with no explanation. I have never met a 4 year old with empathy. Reilly has empathy and never faults Grace for anything she does. Reilly has seen Grace in a full meltdown with aggression and screaming. Reilly HURT and CRIED when she saw this, but it was for Grace.
Reilly is such an amazing influence on Grace, vice versa. So we take Reilly as often as we can. Reilly has mentioned to me a few times that Grace is special, and she thinks differently. Mind you her mother has never said anything to Reilly. She just has this natural intuition and beautiful soul. If I am trying to get Grace to transition, I will sometimes say things that aren't true, and Reilly the 4 year old winks at me because she knows what I'm doing.
I love to watch them play. Reilly thinks Grace is hilarious when she scripts. She is actually amazed Grace can recite shows, and I will see Reilly racking her brain trying to figure out what show or movie she is scripting. Grace will only interact up to 5 minutes then go into solitude. Reilly knows this but still stays by her side and parallel plays with Grace, even though she has surpassed that. She never tells on Grace and has never once complained about Grace. How lucky are we to have found this patient, empathetic, loving girl?
At times when I have Reilly, I fight back tears and that nagging lump in my throat. I get mixed emotions because of the interactions I have with her. I am able to rationalize with her. I have these detailed two way conversations about the past, present, and future. It is amazing. I cherish it and tuck it away in my heart, sometimes tap into it when My Boss has her unclear opaque moments. When I watch Grace struggle I watch Reilly help her along. Super Daddy and me exchange infinity smiles when Reilly and Grace play. When Grace fades off, Reilly gets in her face and makes her pay attention. Reilly brings so much joy to Grace's life. I even use seeing Reilly as a reinforcer.
When Grace has to leave Reilly's side it use to be a really emotional even they would both cry and scream. Until one day my dear Reilly whispered to me "I am going to be strong for Grace and not cry so she has an easier time" When I got in the car with Grace that day I cried the whole way home and rubbed Grace's leg and told her how lucky we were to have Reilly in our lives.