Tonight, just before drifting off to sleep while waiting on her parents, she cuddled with me, pulled my face to hers, kissed me and asked, “Auntie, you’re my friend?” I’m so thankful she already has a concept of friendship… And even though we had just had a stern talk about obedience, she knew enough to know that Auntie must be her friend – stern talks and all.
It was one of those days – a long, tiring and supposed-to-be-over kind of day. My niece and I had had several “runnings.” She was tired, I was tired, but she wouldn’t go to sleep! And I couldn’t sleep if she wouldn’t. Sigh. But then I decided to give her my full attention, which is obviously what the poor little bumble bee wanted. Obviously, I didn’t have the energy. Or so I thought. I invited her to climb up on my bed to lie beside me. We talked about the importance of immediate obedience and then we prayed (she repeated after me) and asked God to help her. From then, until she finally fell asleep, I laughed so hard my throat hurt. That child is such a comedian! Her laugh is often enough to at least inspire a giggle at worst and a big, hearty laugh at best. Tonight, she was on a roll.
My niece teaches me love and patience. I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to hold her in my arms. No. Wait. What’s really amazing is when she takes me in her arms and reassures me of her love. That this little person understands how much her Auntie needs her, and at the time when she is “supposed” to be completely selfish, is priceless.
She teaches me forgiveness. Out of frustration, I’ve asked her, “What’s wrong with you?” I’ve even told her that I didn’t want to speak with her for a bit (insert shame face). Yet she keeps coming back to me with those big brown eyes and that persistent smile and let’s me know that I’m still her auntie. She never brings up things I did, or reminds me of how I failed to maintain the “favourite auntie award” (licks out tongue at my sister). She just knows how to move on.
And tonight, she told me that I’m also her friend. And I want to always be her friend. I need her to always be mine. When the days are long and the nights seem like a never ending cricket test match (licks out tongue at my love), if she could just take me in her arms like she did tonight, just in that moment, all will be well again…
When I grow up, I want to be like my 3 year old niece.