If you know me, you know I love my niece.
Being an auntie is the single best thing I’ve ever gotten to do. Noella is living proof that joy is all around us. As I’m writing this, she literally just laughed as hard as she could because she has a new “squishy ball” to play with, she screamed with pure love and excitement as her dad walked through the door and she danced like crazy to the music playing in the background on a commercial. Green lights at a stop light bring this girl the same amount of happiness that winning a million dollars would give me-seriously. When Noella gets a present, she hugs it and tells it how much she loves it. Actually, even if it’s not necessarily a present. Yesterday I watched her hug the boxes of fruit snacks she got from Target. Not that I don’t also hug my fruit snacks…but she is SO grateful for everything.
Her and I do a lot of somersaults, a lot of running around the house chasing each other, a lot of dancing and (recently) wheelbarrow walking. Watching a toddler move is fascinating because they move how we were all intended to. If you’re ever needing something to humble you, try to move like a toddler. Squat down and stay there while being able to use your arms to play. (Warning: you should probably have something to hold onto the first time you try.) Then try crawling and moving in and out of the crawl position to half kneeling (on one knee with the other leg forward, foot flat). I’ve tried mimicking her movements at the park as she climbs all over everything….and let’s just say that I usually give up and go to the swings. It also turns out that a somersault is not quite as easy as it used to be! But every time she asks, I agree to do more! I suppose it’s good for me.
Noella doesn’t hide her emotions. If she’s hungry, you’re going to know. If she’s overwhelmed, she’s going to cry until she feels better. And if she’s happy, it’s one of the best sounds in the entire world. As she grows, she’s going to get a million messages telling her to hide this expression, to suppress how she’s feeling so that she’s not “too emotional”. She’ll be told that she’s being dramatic for no reason at all. I hope she’s never too afraid to show her true self to me. I hope all the little girls out there have someone they can express their feelings to without judgement.
Being an auntie to Noella has given me an insight into the purest form of love. She doesn’t know hate, she doesn’t know judgement, she doesn’t know self-doubt. She’s a beautiful soul in this tiny little body. What if we all tried to be a little more grateful? What if we decided that it was okay to feel sad sometimes and that we didn’t always have to have it perfectly together? What if we recognized that hate is indeed learned from how adults are treating one another? How would we act if we knew their eyes were constantly watching what we do? What if we all just loved like a toddler getting a new box of fruit snacks?