Meet K. We'll just call her "the Princess" because she would prefer it. In fact, sometime she insists upon it.
She is my oldest, and first niece.
She also owns a huge chunk of my heart.
I haven't seen her in two weeks, so even typing that makes me tear up a bit.
Excuse me while I take a moment...
The Princess called me last night. She's discovered the phone and really likes to call people. The calling is the most important thing...figuring out what she has to say comes later. Even if she has to make it up. Like last night for example:
(Phone rings. My ringtone is sort of oriental and goes something like this: bada bada bum bum ba ba ba. Yeah...I know you're hearing it now.)
K: Hi TiTi!
Me: Hi K***!
K: Um...can you come over for dinner? Or do you have a meeting?
Me: No, I don't have a meeting. Did someone tell you to call me and invite me to dinner?
K: No. I'm inviting you to dinner. Oh, and you have to wear a dress.
Me: (laughing) A dress, huh? Is it a fancy dinner?
Me: Um...ok. What's for dinner?
Turns out, the Princess and the rest of the family had already eaten their dinner of, yes, seriously...pancakes. She just wanted to talk to me and see me.
I remember just after she was born, I think for the first three months of her life, I saw her every day. I had to see her every day. If I didn't, I would cry. Sure, I cry a lot anyway...but still...I would. If I had to go over at 9pm at night just to look at her and sing "Dorothy" for her, I would.
Um...I have to take another moment again. Excuse me.
Enjoy another picture of the Princess in the meantime.
Ok...I'm better now.
So the Princess likes the phone. She likes the phone almost as much as she likes Pink. She also likes to draw and write. Give that girl a pad of paper and a pen and she is good for about 6 hours. I'm not kidding. I've timed her. It's amazing! One time, she filled a whole notebook with a series of sketches I like to call CD-head people. She traced a CD and made them into people...all sorts of people...over and over again.
Along with the phone and pink, of course, and drawing and playing dress up, the Princess also likes spending the night at my house and coming to church with me. She likes it even though we have to go to bed early like on a school night and get up really early for me to rehearse with our worship team. Alls I can figure is she doesn't mind the sacrifice because on those mornings she also gets donuts. Regardless, she asks to sleep over every single weekend and every single time I take her to church with me, I need nothing more than paper (she is open to various mediums: plain paper, notebook paper, construction paper, the backs of bulletins and song sheets, tithing envelopes...whatever's handy) and some sort of writing implement to keep her entertained through rehearsal, prayer and church service. Oh...and at some point in the middle of all of that, I have to be willing to let her nap on me. And sometimes drool on me. And not shake her too much when she starts snoring. But, like early mornings with donuts, it is a small sacrifice. And the other people on the worship team, in the seats around us, that we stop to talk to all get to walk away with an official piece of Princess artwork.
Thinking about how thankful I am for her, well, SURPRISE, I'm all vehklempt. But I won't take a moment this time. I'll just push through because that's the kind of trooper I am. Also because I need to finish this up and get ready to go see the Princess and her brother (the Dudler) and sister (the Diva).
The day she was born was bittersweet for us. She wasn't born of or into the best of circumstances, and the moment I locked eyes with her I knew two things: I completely, with every fiber of my being, loved this kid. The kind of love that makes you drive out of your way, past your bedtime to see and get choked up in the middle of a sentence and post pictures so you can grab a hanky and...well, you get the idea. I also knew that she'd one day break my heart. So far, though, she has been a pure and simple gift from God. She is a blessing when I deserve no such thing. She is a smile that makes it all better. She is so much like me and so many things I want to be. She was also the first person in the world that I completely loved and that I know completely loves me. Before her, I thought the only creature on God's green earth that would ever be ecstatic to see me was my golden retriever, Samantha. When she died, that died too. Then came the Princess. God is too good to me.