Thursday, January 23, 2014

A birthday note to the love of my life

I met her three years ago but if I was being honest with the world, I felt next to nothing. She looked like a potato all scrunched up. Everyone else in my life was enamored but when I first met my niece I was an unimpressed dolt. I wasn't sure how my life would change. I was only a bit angry that now my sister will have even less time to spend with me. Thea being born, was to me, a rather unceremonious event. Something that would hardly affect me.

Our love was at first as one sided as they come. I liked her well enough to wave at her through skype. I was angry when I was pulled off my bed to chat up with a baby who could not understand what I was saying. I did not understand what the fuss was about. But she on the other hand seemed to be in love with me. She lit up when I was around. She called to me various names...sometimes I was Aish, sometimes I was Aaesh...but she would demand even as a baby to see me. Even through my initial indifference, it was obvious the tiny thing had found something in me, she really loved. When my sister first came from California to visit us, I was panicked. What if I could not make any connection whatsoever with my own niece?

I realise now, I shouldn't have worried. Thea already had better plans for our relationship than I did. I just wanted to be able to hold her without dropping her. But when we first physically met in the airport, even though she wasn't even a year old, she pulled me into a hug. Suddenly everything changed. I went from being a nonchalant observer who was trying to get some time to hang out with her sister, to a lovestruck teenager. A tiny ball of human being pulled me into a hug and I knew my life had completely changed.

It's a strange and loving relationship I share with Thea. Our faces brighten up every time we see each other. We are very similar. She is also incredibly hyper active. She befriends everyone in her life. She jumps. She laughs. She runs around so much, even I can't catch her. She won't let me pay attention to anything else in life. And she now calls me Aishu. When I look sad, she hugs me through skype. When I wear a new dress, her eyes widen and she says - "Aishu's so pretty" in a slight Americanised accent. When I pretend to hide, her face darkens as she panics that I have left.

On January 27, she turns three years old. Only three. She has only started with life. But she's my best friend (sorry to all those who think they are my best best friend is a three year old who is in potty training, deal with it). And as I think about what life has in store for her, I realise I don't want her path to just be roses. I want her to experience everything - happiness, sadness, tragedy, laughter, friendship, love and yes, heartbreak. I want her to be kind to others. To have empathy for those different from her. I want her to smile at everyone when she grows up, as she smiles at me today.

I also want her to see some bad times in life. She needs to know that life is a gift but not one without challenges. That it's not worth it to always be winning in life. That sometimes she will really not see the light at the end of the tunnel. But that's okay. Every time she finds happiness, she will appreciate it that much more. She will be more generous because of the things she may have lost in life. And when the going gets a bit too tough, that will be alright too because I shall be there along with those who love her, to give her a massive hug and tell her things will work themselves out. So happy birthday Thea. Even though you cannot read right now (at least you are pooping properly!), I hope someday you stumble across this blog. And figure out for yourself how a three year old (that's you) changed the life of an apathetic 25 year old (that would be me) who swore she hated kids. I love you baby and I need to give smush you with a bear hug right now. 

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