My Niece’s Love

I received a gift beyond measure today. The gift was so meaningful and so powerful it brought tears to my eyes.

I have loved and adored my niece for more than 13 years. I am so proud of the intelligent, caring, beautiful young woman she is becoming. My sister is one heck of a mom to raise this girl on her own.

I was only 13 years old when she was born, and I didn’t know the first thing about being an aunt. I loved dressing her like a mini me and playing with her. As I grew into the person I am today, and my nieces life changed, our relationship evolved.

I am proud to say that she is one of my closest friends. I’m honest with her even when the questions are tough. I tell her what is right, not what is easy. I don’t always tell her what she wants to hear, but she knows I mean well. And she knows that she can tell me anything. And as long as it isn’t anything dangerous or harmful, I keep her secrets.

I’m so grateful that HOS understands our bond. I told him once that if – God forbid – anything were to happen to my sister, I would fight tooth and nail to keep my niece with me. I would never lose her. He would fight for her by my side.

My goal, especially since becoming an adult, is to be a role model for my niece. I want to be someone she can turn to. Someone she can look up to. And someone she can be proud of.

Most people spend their whole lives never knowing the impact they have on another person. We never really know what sinks in or what matters. … But today, I learned that I am exactly who I wanted to be for my niece.

I received the greatest gift today in the form of a PowerPoint. My niece’s teacher sent it to my sister who shared it with me. The presentation was all about my niece – who she is, what she likes, what she wants to do when she grows up…

And on one of the last slides she wrote this:

“My Aunt taught me that if I’m not happy with something in my life that is in my control then change it – therefore I’m never unhappy with anything that is in my control.”

When I read that, I knew my mom would be proud of who I am. And I cried happy tears.

Lessons Learned (with more to come, I’m sure)

I hope HOS doesn’t read this and get upset, but we had a little tiff a week ago. That little tiff taught me a big lesson in parenting, one that I’m afraid I will fail many, many times.

The argument itself was trivial, but it was the situation surrounding the discourse. My lovely, 13 year old niece was hanging out at the house and sitting just inches away from me when they altercation occurred.

We didn’t raise our voices, throw things at each other or spit hateful things (out loud) (I kid!). But we still put my niece in a very uncomfortable position by letting that disagreement happen in front of her.

I quickly followed HOS when he left the room and we talked about the minor problem at hand. It was resolved painlessly and without the need for me to send him passive aggressive texts while he was with friends. … Not that I would EVER do that. …

Anyway, this story is about what I learned. I don’t want to be that couple that fights openly in front of other people. We are happy together. I want people to know that we are happy together. And I definitely want my daughter to see happy, healthy relationship between her parents, friends, family, etc. I want these same things for my niece.

After I talked with Shane, I sat with my niece and apologized. I told her that she shouldn’t have been in that situation, and it hopefully (no promises) won’t happen again. I also explained that despite our disagreement, Shane and I are happy. We love each other, and I don’t want her to worry or think that something is wrong. I explained that even the happiest of couples will fight sometimes. The sweet thing just asked if everything was ok after I talked to him and went back to her iPod.

Every situation we experience yields a lesson. I don’t think we always know, understand or agree with the lesson, but it is what it is. In this situation, my niece taught me the importance of being aware of surroundings and how we want to be represented before showing some hostilities.

This is not me condoning lying or hiding feelings because there are people around. This is about finding the right times and right ways to communicate.

For only 13, this girl sure does teach me a lot. 🙂