As An Uncle Should
Let's be clear from the outset. When I say that I love her, I don't mean it in the "Dueling Banjos" kind of love that some families might have.
She'll be 21 this year. She's the youngest child of the youngest of my sisters (who's 4 years older than me).
She stole my heart when she was 4 years old.
My sister had to rush one of her boys off to the hospital and asked me to mind her baby girl. I did my best to keep her happy, but she kept wanting to go out to see if the van was back yet. She reached up for me to carry her, and carry her I did.
After a few trips outside to see if her Mum had returned, I thought perhaps television might distract her for a while. So I went in, turned on the TV and sat down with her to watch.
She had other ideas. She stretched out on the couch, put her head in my lap and went to sleep.
I wasn't prepared for the sense of awe that hit me at that moment. I felt a lump in my throat, my eyes were a bit watery. For once in my life, it occurred to me that having children might not be such a bad thing.
That memory still has the power to move me.
She thought I was pretty special too. Some other time, when I was entertaining the kids in the park outside their house, she'd rather seriously tell the other children to be careful not to tire her uncle out.
She has a wise head on her shoulders, she's a very loving young lady and a great support to her Mum.