Friday, October 7, 2011

True Love

Dear Hasebe-san,

It's been a long week.  I'm sitting here, on my couch, too lazy to get up and actually go to bed.  I found myself looking at your blog and looking through old pictures.  You adore your niece.  When I look at you and the way you love your niece, I can completely relate; that is exactly how I feel about my niece too.  I can't wait to see her.  I miss her when she's not near.  I plan and wait and count down the days until I can see her again.  When she's with me, I can't get enough of her.  I see all of this in you and it's fun to think that people all over the world in all walks of life can equally obsess over their nieces.
However, today, while I was, as I said before, lazily sitting on my couch, mindlessly clicking through your blog pictures, I realized something: your niece is constantly smiling back or looking back at the camera or rather whoever is behind the camera.  Even when she is with you, she's thinking about and looking back at someone else.  In these pictures, I see the most adoring uncle in the world.  I also see a niece who loves her uncle very very much.  However, she doesn't forget whoever is behind that camera.  I've seen that look in my niece too.

A few weeks ago, my sister was visiting from Paris.  We decided to do a photoshoot of my incredibly adorable and absolutely photogenic niece.  We set up camp but realized we might need a blanket for Alexis to sit on since she actually doesn't like grass.  Somehow, despite the fact that she had just run something like 10 miles that day, we sent Alexis' mother back to the car.  Alexis, of course, adores her aunts, and smiled and laughed with us while her mom was gone.  We probably even got some cute shots then.  However, as Alexis' mom came back into view, hobbling a little on her sore legs, Alexis started glowing with joy.  Her entire face lit up and she excitedly started laughing and waving kid-like to her mom while saying, "Hi!  Hi!  Hi!"  Fact: Alexis loves her Aunt Erin but she adores her mother.  It was one of my favorite moments of the weekend.

If you look at pictures of Alexis and I, she is content and happy to be with me (except for that picture when I'm pushing her on the swing and everyone thinks she's screaming out in terror - she's not.  She actually loves swings.)  But when you see pictures with Alexis and her mother, you actually start to get a real glimpse of how much love my little niece can muster - and it's a lot of love.

Looking  at your pictures today, I saw the same trend.  You and I will always come in somewhere after first in line for our niece's affections.  (I probably fall in somewhere a lot farther behind - I do already have the reputation as the 'bad aunt')  But somehow, isn't it enough to love and be loved just as we are - somewhere behind first but by someone who loves us enough to laugh with us and hold our hand and smile when we walk in the room?  Someone who has done nothing and yet everything to change our world?

I wonder if we're getting a glimpse, just a glimpse, of what we can feel for our own children one day.  I hope so.


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