“Richere!” Ella is screaming my name as she is running towards me. My three-year-old cousin jumps into my arms and hugs me tight. Her little face nestled into the crook of my neck; she flattens my hair down as she tells me about all the fun we are going to have that day.
“Are we going to go in the pool?” Ella questions me as she already start to put her bathing suit on.
“Yes, Ella, we’ll go in the pool and down the slide, too.” The look of terror was displayed on her face when I mentioned the slide.
“No, it’s okay; I don’t have to go down the slide,” she said, and I didn’t push her, because I knew she wouldn’t want to go in the pool if I did.
My grandmother had fourteen kids and most of them had their fair share of children, too, so family has always surrounded me wherever I go. Family has always been an important factor in my life, because they have always been present, through the good and bad times. Growing up, I always had my older cousins teaching me what they did and being there for me if I needed them. They have been able to help me grow into the compassionate person that I am today. With them, I was able to learn my limits and keep pushing past them, because as a child, one would always want to make the people they look up to happy, and that is what I did. My cousins have given me the gift of understanding and nurturing, they helped me become what they were for me: a mentor. I see myself today as I saw them in my childhood, somebody to look up to, a person that a child wants to please.
Ella has finally learned to go down the slide and into the pool by herself. She received encouragement, love and patience from somebody who cares deeply about her. The courage it took while her older brother, sister and I were waiting for her, and she gracefully slid down the slide and plunged into the water. She came up and beamed at me the exact same way that I used to beam at my cousins when I accomplished something that they had encouraged me to do. I felt her pride...