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Yes, sleepovers are part of our routine. 

My sister and I are 11 years apart. My sister wanted a sibling so badly. She didn’t treat me the way your typical older sibling may treat a much younger sibling. I was never a burden to her. She wanted me around, she loved including me in her activities, taking me with to hang out with her friends and always giving more than I ever gave. She wanted to have a close sister bond. A bond that I never gave to her, a bond that she so greatly deserved.

It wasn’t until I got much older, had my fair share of experiences with life, matured and had a child of my own, that I realized what a wonderful sister and person I took for granted. If I could change it, I would. However, time travel is not an option. We have been working on our relationship and I am grateful for this “second chance,” of being the sister that my sister deserved and still deserves. I’m extremely thankful to my daughter who was a main contributor to bridging the gap. My sister has been involved Summer in Summers’s life and has played a major role in her life since the day that she was born. She and my sister have a bond that makes my heart beam. The joy my sister and Summer both feel from this bond is indescribable. I absolutely love it.

My sister has worked for an adult assisted living program for over 15 years. Her work schedule can be chaotic and her schedule unpredictable at times. Regardless of her hectic schedule she always made a conscientious effort to visit Summer every week. She has involved herself and participated in her Early Intervention team and therapies since we began working with the program in January 2014. Summer’s EI team consists of a speech therapist, an occupational therapist and a special facilitation teacher. As time passed my sister and Summer’s bond continued to grow. Janelle’s presence became a regular part of her life and her routine.

In July of 2014 Summer started coming with me to the Daycare and Preschool that I work at three times a week. We all were a little unsure, at first, at how she would adjust to the daycare program. Especially because she was always cared for by my mom while I was at work, Janelle came to our house to visit and her therapists came to our house for her weekly sessions. It worked and I wasn’t sure if she was ready for that change. However, her therapists thought it would be good for her to try. Thankfully, she transitioned wonderfully! She loves her teachers, loves her friends and responds extremely well to the structured classroom setting. She has shown so much progress since July. Her therapists have come to both the school and our home since her attending the daycare. We formed a balanced combination of home, school, visits from Janelle and sessions with her therapist’s. They all play their own special part and have become a normal, consistent (for the most part) routine for Summer.

We then felt it was time to try something new, a sleepover! My sister and her partner have taken Summer for sleepover’s at their house for about five months now. We started off slow with Summer going for a sleepover once a month. Eventually we worked up to twice a month and most recently, she has gone once a week for the last month or so, give or take due to my sister having to handle a few work emergencies.

They are such a big part of Summer’s progress! They always take her on different outings to different places, they practice all the various therapies we use daily in regards to her; speech, motors and sensory concerns. They are amazing. Always encouraging her to do her best but never pushing too hard. Janelle and Kim aren’t just Summer’s Aunts, they are her friends, therapists, supporters, advocates and a couple of her #1 cheerleaders. Summer looks forward to these trips just as much as her Aunts. Now, when Janelle and Kim arrive she throws her oversized purse (filled with her “heard” of stuffed animal horses) over her shoulder and off she goes.

Because yes, sleepover’s are part of our routine.

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