It was heartwarming to look at all the pictures of my girls in their first days and months of existence. It was a bit startling to see myself looking so fresh and awake considering how I think I look most of the time now. It made me long for the ability to schnuggle them and carry them close to me. Seeing all of their baby pictures transported me back in time in a way that I hadn't anticipated.
But nothing could prepare me for this.
This is a love letter sent to me from my gorgeous niece (postmarked 7 April 1992). I have no idea what the reason was for this letter but thank God I was smart enough at the moment to hang on to it. You see, when this little ray of light made her way into the world, she instantly marked my heart. Forever. She was a piece of my brother....the brother I had worshipped as a young girl. But, what I hadn't bargained for, was that she would always seem like a kindred.
I've always been the black sheep of our family. The child that came much later to my parents...nine and six years later than their other children. An afterthought, in a way, but always a welcomed afterthought according to my mother. I've struggled with not understanding why I was so different. Why I couldn't be like them. Disciplined, driven, talented, smart.....all the things everyone in my family seemed to accomplish with virtually no effort. But when she showed up, she accepted me with no hesitation.
Maybe it was because I was the baby of my family....the immature one. The wild one. The whogivesadamn one. Maybe it was that unconditional love that young children seem to have before we contort their views and teach them with our own bias. Or maybe, like her mother, she had that quiet strength of just knowing. I'll never know for sure but what I do know is that I'll always be grateful for it. And for her.
Here are a few other gems I unearthed in my organizing. Proof, I like to think, that she and I were old friends from the get-go.
Snuggling at the cabin before it became an estate.
Birthday Love. (I mean, really, could these kids be any cuter? And, yes, that is a scrunchy in my hair.)
Further proof that she was born an entertainer.
The gene pool. (I always loved that people assumed my sister-in-law was my sister. She was, really.)
My first wedding day. She broke my heart years later, after divorcing, when she asked me what would happen to her flower girl status.