Today is my niece’s sixth birthday. It’s amazing how fast time flies. I know that sounds so cliche, but it’s true. Both of my nieces and my nephew mean the world to me, but Miss Sweet Cheeks was the first and has a special little place in my heart.
When we got the news of her coming birth I was already in love with her. My brother and wife lived in Seattle at the time so we weren’t able to be around the whole pregnancy process like we ALL wanted to (especially my mother). It was tough, but with a few trips and lots of pictures showing the progress it made us even more excited.
As her due date came closer my Mom decided to fly up up to Seattle for the birth and to help out with my niece for a week. Not wanting to miss out on the opportunity to meet my niece I secretly bought tickets myself. Not wanting to tell my Mom. I just wanted to show up at the airport on my own unbeknownst to my Mom.
If you don’t know already, I love surprises. And, I surprised my Mom at the airport. She had no idea. We even ended up sharing a bed together for that week. I don’t feel the need to expound on that one.
But, I was able to be there for her birth. As my sister-in-law pushed in the delivery room throughout the night with my Mom, her Mom and my brother helping, I stayed in the small waiting room watching Elmo movies on DVD. I tried to sleep as well. But, I was too excited to meet my new niece and FINALLY become an Uncle.
Once she was born my Mom came into the waiting room and told me that I was now an Uncle to a healthy little niece. It felt like an eternity waiting to meet her, but once my Mom put her in my arms I was in love. Instant love.
Spending that first week of her life in Seattle was sublime. It also started to change my focus in life. At that time close to the heaviest I had ever been. I wasn’t happy with my life and I didn’t have a direction.
But, whenever I held my little niece I saw a future. I saw what I wanted to become and be. I wanted to go through this experience with my own wife and my own kids. A spark within me ignited. It might not have been THAT spark that got the ball rolling, but it helped provide a picture of what I wanted to run towards.
Over the past six years it’s been amazing to watch the growth I’ve seen in my neice. She is one of the most creative, most caring and most loving people I know. She is so concerned for her little brother and cousins. She has even started cooking for both of them. She makes a mean PB&J and cup of noodles!
I see that Christlike love that permeates throughout her, I see that care-free joy she enjoys now and I can’t help but think how lucky I am to have her in my life. She is becoming such a wonderful young lady who would do anything for anyone. What an example she is to her cousins and even aunts and uncles.
I can’t wait for the day for you to be a cousin to my own kids! They will have a great example to look up to! I love you Little Miss Sweet Cheeks! Happy Birthday!