Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Girl


She was the first baby I ever fell in love with. I had been around many babies before, but never had I been so smitten as this. When I babysat for her I would pretend she was mine. It was easy because everyone remarked at the resemblance between us. I paraded her around my school, my friends, my work. I had to introduce her to everyone. Yes, I was smitten.

I remember nights at my sister's apartment when I would beg to put my baby to sleep. I would turn the radio to soothing music and stand in front of the big patio windows dancing her to sleep. Her hair was the sweetest smell I had ever known in my 17 years. Her cheeks were so rosy and soft I had to restrain myself from kissing her too much and keeping her awake.

For a while when she was two I had the pleasure of being her nanny. Every morning at the crack of dawn she would come bounding in my room begging for her "ba-ba" and her favorite show "Bananas in Pajamas". She would cross her legs, stick her nuk on her big toe, and bounce her foot up and down. Up and down. Even at two years old she was funny, expressive, and full of life. She was a handful for some, but was always fabulous for me. My little buddy.

Today my niece turns 15. I can easily remember what my life was like when I was 15. On the one hand things were so exciting and new and all of life's possibilities were mine for the taking. On the other hand life was confusing, draining, scary, and at times heart breaking. At fifteen I turned inside myself and tried to find exactly who I was. Who I wanted to be. It was a time of mixed emotions. At fifteen I struggled.

Distance made it impossible to stay in my niece's life as much as I've wanted to over the years, but fate has brought her, her sisters, and my sister back home. I'm so glad that she is here. I hope she knows how much it means to me to have her close again, and to be able to watch her in this most exciting, fun, confusing, and draining time in her life. And I hope she knows that whatever she needs I am always here for her.


**********************************************************
For years I've carried this advice around in my wallet. It has helped to lift me from my funks and inspire me to do better. I hope that it helps to inspire my niece as well and reminds her of life's possibilities.


Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

33 comments:

Brittany said...

What a wonderful tribute to your niece! Happy Birthday! :)

beth said...

Beautiful post. And great picture too!

People in the Sun said...

I hated fifteen. I felt like an adult, but everyone still treated me like a baby. And I didn't have an adult who knew what I was going through. Which means your niece is very lucky.

Adlibby said...

How sweet. How lucky you both are!

Candy said...

I have soooo much to get done this week and I don't want to do ANY of it.

yuk.

thank you for challenging me to tackle the moment.

CC said...

Happy birthday niece!!!

And great quote. I love Emerson, but have never read that one before.

The Griper said...

in your wallet? i thought only men carried wallets, women carried purses. lol

boy,, just shows ya, you can learn something new every day.

Katrina :) said...

C0ngrats 0n the candles!! :)

Laura said...

what a wonderful tribute and lovingly written post. HUGS!

Happy birthday to your niece, I am totally sure she knows how you feel.

Thanks for sharing.

wright said...

Beautiful and sweet. This is a wonderful post!

Carol said...

Ah....a beautiful niece to be ever-spoiled by her beautiful aunt!! What a nice tribute to her.

Roxy Wishum said...

What a lucky 15-year-old to have such a cool aunt! I bet your boys love her?

lime said...

well happy birthday to your niece. how special a relationship. :)

Rebecca Ramsey said...

How sweet! And how lucky for both of you to have each other in your lives!
Becky

Kat said...

The Griper- The wallet goes inside my purse, silly! Otherwise my money and credit cards would just be floating around in my purse! ;)

Dawn said...

This is beautiful tribute to your niece. My sister was the doting aunt to my daughter when she was a baby; she even stayed with us as her nanny for awhile...it reminds me of your wonderful relationship with your niece.

Elaine A. said...

Okay, this post hit home with me for TWO reasons:

One, I have a niece that was born when I was 16 and she is my Goddaughter and my first real baby love.

Second, I had that EXACT same verse posted on the back of my bedroom door when I was a teenager. No lie.

I feel a special bond with you today Kat. : )

Nap Warden said...

Awww...so sweet:)

Cyndi said...

Happy Birtday! What a sweet post!

Debbie in CA : ) said...

Precious and inspiring and delightful! Happy birthday to the special lady. : )

maggie's mind said...

So very sweet. My nephew just turned 21, and I'm still just kind of in awe. Happy birthday to your niece, and I love the Words to Live By.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

My niece was born when I was 14, and she just turned 21. We've been very close all of her life, and it's been amazing to watch her grow up. I'm glad your niece is closer now!

anglophilefootballfanatic.com said...

Love the words of the trancendentalists. And, I feel the same way about my niece, too. My girl. The only one I ever wanted/needed. And, the reason I desire nothing but boys.

Kelli @ Gohn Crazy said...

This is a beautiful post. What an awesome bond you have with your niece. And powerful words to live by. I just love Emerson.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Lucky girl to have an aunt like you!

Tonya said...

That is so sweet! I love the picture of the two of you. I bet you are the funniest aunt!

Mel said...

Kat this was just awesome...I really AM going to have to buy stock in Kleenex.

April said...

This was such an incredibly sweet, love-filled post! I hope you show it to your sister and your niece!

Momisodes said...

What an incredible, heart-felt post on your niece. You are all so fortunate to have each other as such an amazing family. Niece's are so special. And what a lovely quote to share as she transitions into becoming an adult.

Mom24 said...

Those are beautiful words to live by. Thanks for sharing them.

Pinky said...

Absolutely precious.
God is good.

Hilary said...

You look absolutely and totally in love with that baby girl. Such a sweet Auntie post. Happy birthday to your sweetie.

imbeingheldhostage said...

you're so inspiring! Happy birthday!!

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson