My niece (brother's daughter) is a lot like me, which I suppose isn't too surprising because my brother and I are far more alike than we ever realized. She's not really all that miniature considering she is 12 and nearly as tall as me. She loves reading, most academics, singing, and theater. She adores bizarre, funky jewelry. She also eats her food in the same manner I always did (sorting and organizing, eating certain things but not others, eating things in a particular order). It's very bemusing.
It's been really good to get to know my brother again, despite how hard the rest of the past month has been (Dad gets worse every week). Despite large efforts on my part I had internalized so much of the narratives my mother provided and haven't rooted them all out yet. So it's been wonderful to kick old narratives out of my head and realize that my brother and I are so very similar, and our skill sets and comfort zones balance each other out perfectly (I can handle admin stuff and phone calls, he can do the cleaning and medical stuff, which I can do but am far less comfortable doing). Without my mom to cause friction we are back to the close friendship and team that we once had many years ago.
It's also been really nice to meet my sister-in-law and niece and get to know them. Last time I saw my niece she was still a baby. So it has been nice to spend time with them and get to know them. It's laid a certain set of brain weasels to rest. I'm sure the little bastards will come up with new ways to be a pest, but at least this set is calm for now.
I'm doing my best to take care of myself as well as being here for my dad and brother. I've gotten out of the house a couple of times to visit old friends, and have also been pampering myself since I can't stress eat like I used to. So I have gotten a haircut, a manicure/pedicure, and a lesson in skin care and makeup application along with some new makeup. I really didn't like my current stuff (bare minerals) as the powder is messy and gets everywhere. It was really nice to finally find a skin care product for ultra sensitive skin that does not smell awful or feel awful and actually helps sooth irritation and calm the skin. The line is Dermitilogica for those who need something similar (they have body care stuff too, I went back and got some). It is pricey but well worth it. And if you are in the Spokane, WA area I cannot recommend Beautiful Grounds
, which is located in the mezzanine level of Auntie's bookstore, enough. It's a beauty bar and coffee shop run by a brother and sister and their best friend. They were absolutely wonderful, super sweet, and very helpful.