When I became an aunt

Posted by Tracy

June 19, 2017 Family  No comments

It was 15 years ago today. I remember waiting in the hospital for word that it was OK to go meet Sea Girl (I don’t remember what we called her in this blog, but this fits for now) for the first time, along with all the grandparents and some other relatives. During that visit, I got a glimpse of her and how thrilled everyone was to welcome her to this world, but the new parents weren’t ready to pass her around quite yet – she was only a few minutes old, y’know.

I can’t remember exactly why, but I returned to the hospital a little later that day – either to bring something or just check on the little one. Because I was by myself and not part of an overwhelming crowd, I got to hold her.

I’m not a baby person. Yes, this makes me kind of a freak in this world, but there it is. I’ve never hated them; I just don’t have an easy way with them. When someone would come to work to show off the baby, I would hang around the periphery and coo my admiration and congratulations while others lined up for some baby time. And if someone asked me directly if I wanted to hold his or her baby, of course I didn’t say no.

But my niece’s birth was the first time in my memory that holding a baby mattered to me. And I loved it, breathing in the baby smell and feeling the peach fuzz of her soft head. Wondering what she would look like when she was 2 years old … 10 years old … 15.

Well, she’s 15 today, and I can tell you that she’s a beautiful person, inside and out. At her dance recital yesterday, I got to see the expression of years of passion, determination and plain sweat transformed into some breathtaking pieces. I’m always happy that her mom gets tickets near the front so we don’t have trouble seeing the girls’ (her sister is a dancer, too, and is equally talented) expressions as they move fluidly and gracefully, as they were obviously meant to do.

But it’s really her personality that I love and that I’ve missed over the past year, as our schedules have kept us from what used to be our regular visits. I’ve enjoyed talking with her about books, TV shows (Captain Swan forever!) and about being someone who is proud to be smart and unique. From a distance, I’ve admired how easily and openly she shares her love with children and babies in the way that’s never come easy to me. Up close, I appreciate how patient she is with the Boo, and how she’s helped him out of a funk/meltdown countless times.

Recently, I’ve heard her mention a couple of times that she *is* Moana, the title character in a recent Disney animation. I’m not always good at reading the subtext of people’s words, but what I hope it means is that she’s ready to be a voyager – like her ancestors – continuing to break new ground for the future while keeping the stories of the past alive.

Or maybe it just means she loves the ocean. I’ve been known to read too much into people’s words.

Either way, it will be a treat for me to watch. Happy birthday, Sea Girl.

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