Friday, July 25, 2014

The Best Part of Summer

So much for posting regularly this summer.  It's been an amazing summer of healing and empowerment.  But more on that later.

Almost seventeen years ago, I found out I was going to be an aunt for the first time.  Oh, the excitement I felt.  This little creature was about to enter my life.  In my mind, he or she would be this perfect little person that I could shower with love and spoil in a way that only an aunt could. 

Guess what.  It all came true.  Four times.

Now I have three nieces and a nephew.  Every summer, I try to spend one on one time with each of them on their "date day."  Date day is whatever they want it to be.  They love it because they get to do whatever they want.  I love it because I get those moments with each of them.  It's not so much the activity as much as it is the quiet conversations that pop up here and there.  It's a gage of where they are in their lives and what's really on their minds.

Little b was first.  Due to childcare circumstances, she actually got a week. Oh, what a carefree independent spirit she is.  She is just always bubbly and happy, but also needs that extra attention.  Most of her time was spent on craft projects where it wasn't about the outcome, but the process. 

Big B was next.  As the only boy in a world of girls, he doesn't get credit for the sensitive heart he hides.  He is in a place where he is trying to figure out who he is, but also seems to be content with life as it comes.  But he listens.  He listens when people don't think he is.  And, sometimes, he internalizes what he hears. And despite what he may say, he is the biggest protector of his little sisters'.

Miss E.  Oh, Miss E.  The perfect combination of spunk, sassiness, and sweetness.  The one liners she comes up with are hilarious! She looks up to her big sister in a way that touches your heart.  And her creativity measures up to no ones.  She could spend hours working away on projects.  She takes the time to quietly take in the world and is so appreciative of others.  I wish I could see the world through her eyes, even for a day.

And finally, C.  She is where this all started.  At 16, I left the door open for date day but I prepared myself for the reality that she may have outgrown it.  Imagine my sheer delight when she suggested it to me.  She had nothing specific she wanted to do.  Just a hangout day.  My giggly little girl has grown into a beautiful young lady.  She is that typical teenager, but I see her heart, and it is big.  She has and very outgoing personality, but she also revealed some of her hopes and fears.  This girl is amazing and completely capable of anything she wants to do.

These four kids have captured my heart in a way I didn't know was possible.  They have so many, many people in their lives that love and care for them.  I feel fortunate to be a part of their lives. 

After all, no one loves them like I do!