Freddie and Alan had gone away for the weekend and Alan's parents were staying with Hannah. But Saturday Joe had to take Karen to a doctor's appointment that was pretty far away so I had come to keep an eye on Hannah for the day. I was a little nervous as it was my first time alone with her. I had visited her several times before but my brother was always there. If Hannah got upset, Freddie was right there to comfort her; this time it would be up to me to calm her when she got upset, which was a little nerve racking.
I had arrived to the house and Hannah was finishing her breakfast while Karen and Joe were preparing to head out. "Auntie Mia!" Hannah said to me with bright and excited eyes. "Hello sweetheart, are you ready to have some fun today," I said before I placed a kiss on her head. "Mmmm hmm," Hannah replied as she nodded her head. "Alright, now your finish your breakfast so we can get our day started," I told her. "Alright, we'll be back in the afternoon, do you two need anything before we leave?" Karen asked. "No, I think Hannah and I will be okay," I replied. "Okay, we're going to get going then, we'll be back later honey," Joe said as he kissed Hannah goodbye. After they headed out the door I turned to Hannah and said, "so Hannah what shall we do today?" "Ummmm can we go to the park?" She replied with hopeful eyes. "Sure, that sounds like fun! We can go by the pond and look at the ducks, I know how much you love watching the ducks," I told her. After Hannah finished up her breakfast I helped her get dressed and we headed to the park. Hannah loved watching the ducks, she laughed as she watched them splash and stick their feet in the air as they ate. When we were walking back from the pond I noticed that Hannah was looking at the swings on the playground. "Hannah love, do you want to go on the swings?" I asked her. "Swings?" She said somewhat confused. Freddie told me that there were many things that Hannah had not seen before given that she had such a sheltered past. I would be lying if I said I wasn't taken aback when I realized she had never been on or probably even seen a swing before. "Hannah see those over there? Those are called swings, you sit on them and it almost feels like your flying!" I said to her as I pointed out the swings. "Do you want to go try them? I can push you," I encouraged her. She looked at me a little nervously but nodded her head. I walked her over to the playground and got her situated on a swing, "okay you have to make sure you hold on tight while I push you okay," I told her. "Okay are you ready?" I said before I pushed her lightly. She was a little take a back when I pushed her the first few times but the more I pushed her the more she started to laugh and have fun. "Auntie Mia I'm flying!" She said giggling. "You are! You're just like a bird!" I said laughing with her. As Hannah was swinging I noticed a woman giving Hannah a dirty look. I knew I she was probably thinking Hannah was too big to be on the swings. Freddie told me stories about how they got looks for cuddling Hannah in public or when people saw Hannah cry in public. Hannah is pretty small for her age, she looks like she's about 10 or 12, but she still looks bigger than the average "child." My brother told me that he and Alan usually ignored the looks they got from strangers, but I'm not like my brother. "Excuse me is there a problem?" I asked the woman very bluntly. "My niece is just trying to enjoy the swings if you don't mind," I told her. As soon as I said that woman looked embarrassed and she turned back her attention back to her child. Hannah was too busy having fun on the swing to notice the woman but she happened to see my face, "Auntie Mia what's wrong?" She asked me. "Nothing love, you just keep having fun,"I replied as I made sure to put a happier look on my face.
After Hannah had her fill of the swings the sky was looking like it was going to rain, so we headed back to the house. When we got back I fixed us some lunch and we sat down to eat. After we finished Hannah was sitting down coloring and I was cleaning up when all of a sudden it had started to thunder. I didn't think much of it until I turned and saw Hannah cowering in the corner, covering her ears and shaking. "Oh sweetheart what's the matter? Are you afraid of the thunder?" I asked her gently. She nodded her head and tears started to form in her eyes. "That's right, your daddy told me you don't like loud noises," I said. Another clap of thunder rang and she ran to me, wrapping her arms around me. "Oh sweetheart it's okay. You know the thunder and the lighting are just talking to each other," I said as I stroked her hair and held onto her. "Why do they have to be so loud?" she asked me with a shaky voice. "Hannah, the thunder and lightning are really far away from each other so they have to be loud to hear each other," I told her. "Come on love how about we go play with Juliet, will that make you feel better?" I suggested. Hannah nodded her head and we went to the living room to play with the cat.
Hannah was able to calm down once we were playing with Juliet. The thunder had let up a bit when Joe and Karen came back. "I'm sorry we took a bit longer to get back, it was really coming down out there for a while," Karen said as she walked through the door. "It's no problem, Hannah and I had a lot of fun together today. Isn't that right Hannah?" I said "Mmm hmm Auntie Mia took me flying!" Hannah said. Joe and Karen gave me a bit of a confused look. I chuckled and clarified, "she means I took her on the swings. Hannah said she felt like she was flying when she was swinging." "Well it sounds like you two had a great time together," Joe said as sat down next to us. "Okay sweetheart I think it's time for me to go now," I said to Hannah as I brought her in for a hug. "Auntie Mia do you have to go? I like it when you come visit," Hannah said. "Mia, you're more than welcome to stay for dinner if you're free," Karen said to me. Hannah looked at me with hopeful eyes. "Well how could I say no to those eyes? I would be happy to stay," I said. "Great! I'm making lasagna tonight, one of Hannah's favorites!" Karen said.
After dinner, Freddie and Alan called to talk to Hannah. Hannah told them all about our adventures at the park and how happy she was that I stayed for a longer visit. I could sense that Freddie and Alan were relieved that Hannah was doing well without them. For weeks Freddie talked to me about how nervous he was to leave Hannah; Joe and Karen told me that Hannah was pretty upset when my brother and Alan first left but we were all glad to see she had adjusted well. After Hannah's call with her parents, Joe Karen, Hannah and I were all sitting on the couch I watching a movie. Hannah was curled up next to me, after a while she had fallen a sleep tucked under my arm. "Well it is about her bed time, I better carry her up to bed," Joe said before he carefully scooped up Hannah and took her upstairs. "Thanks for staying Mia, Hannah certainly enjoyed having you here," Karen said. "I was happy to stay, I love spending time with Hannah. I was so happy when I found out my brother and Alan adopted, I couldn't wait to be an Aunt," I said. "We were pretty excited too. We were so happy to be grandparents after being in the parental role for quite a while," Karen said chuckling. "Well I better head off, thank you again for dinner," I said as I gathered my things. "Of course, get home safely," Karen said as walked me to the door.