21 years ago today, I became an auntie. I still remember the first time I saw her in the hospital nursery. No one had to point her out to me and say “that’s your niece.” I just knew. That beautiful little bundle, the one that squirmed and wiggled until she could free her little hand from her swaddling to bring it up and rest it on her cheek–that was my girl.
That beautiful baby grew into a sunny, sweet, funny, inquisitive toddler who did much to bring healing to a family still saddened by the death of her grandfather, a man she would never meet and who would have loved her as deep and wide as the ocean, the way the rest of us love her.
The toddler became a little girl, still sunny and smart and ready to tackle the challenges of school, and when her first day of kindergarten arrived, she hopped on the bus without a backward glance at her tearful mom and dad, and she was off. Those years went by in a flash and suddenly that little girl was a young woman ready to graduate from high school, a National Merit Scholar and near the top of her class.
Her college years have brought her challenges and opportunities that she’s taken in stride, along with a dedicated circle of friends who care for and support each other. I couldn’t ask more for her, except that the rest of her life remains as wonderful. Today, my beautiful, accomplished, sunny girl is celebrating her 21st birthday in Hawaii, there for what is essentially her junior-year study abroad, and what a wonderfully memorable way to mark this day. I hope the day is golden.
So happy happy birthday on this, your special day, babe–may all your dreams come true! Your auntie loves you.