Charlie’s First Birthday

I can hardly believe that a year has gone by since my niece was born. I am an addicted aunt. She was walking around nine months, already knows how to clap, blow kisses, and is the silliest of kids (most likely thanks to her fun daddy). If only we lived closer.

To Charlie: “We would come and play with you, and take out your favorite red car (stroller), so you can babble and wave to everyone you pass. We would play the synthesizer together, and build with blocks, and make sure there are fun rides on your new cow (toy). Aunt Tami would be loud and make lots of noise to get you to laugh, and Uncle Chris would be the mellow man that he is and sit and play with you (quietly, unlike Aunt Tami).

You have a heart filled with so much love. I know it after hearing the stories about how you hug other kids and do not want to let go. You are so loved — we can tell from your day care pictures of all the kids surrounding you and calling you Char Char. Never a dull moment in your life. You love your cats, and mommy’s iPad and iPhone. Last but not least you are a sassy little one, just like your Aunt. We could never ask for anything more.

Happy 1st Birthday Charlie!”

Here are a few of my favorite photos of the year. You can see how much she has grown. Charlie, cannot wait to see what your next year will bring!

Feeling deeply

Sometimes we feel things deeply. We feel emotions to our core.

I just spent a few days with my niece. I am smitten. The girl is a hoot. She is the happiest baby. Let me tell you I am probably slightly biased, but I have been taking care of kids since I was nine years old. First I babysat. Over time I did summer nannying. Eventually I worked with infants in a day care for my four years in college. And I babysat all the years in between. Oh, and how could I forget that I fell in love along the way. There were many kids. Emma, and Alden, and Chazzy, and Matts. Evan, and Ryan, and Bailey, and Addison. The list goes on, but nothing compares to the absolute love I have for my own sister’s child.

It is like an anchor that goes down deep while on a boat in the middle of the ocean. It is heavy, and raw, and real. It is painful how much I love this little girl. I have big shoes to fill. With my parents gone I feel like her aunt, and her grandma, and hopefully someday her confidante. Chris and I just spent the last few days with her, and said goodbye to her last night. When we came back home and crawled onto the couch to rest and snuggle there was an empty, quiet space surrounding the couch. We both missed her so much.

She is just now ten months old and walking like crazy, babbling, and utterly cute. She walks on her own all over the place, but still loves to hold your hand (I think because then she has a buddy to go with her). She loved the Christmas tree (mostly the balls, but also the lights). She had the best time opening presents and then eating the paper. She finally loves zerberts (thank goodness, as I love to give them)! I tried to teach her how to blow a kiss so that when we Facetime she will start to blow kisses to me. She laughs and giggles, and like I said is the happiest of babies.

My favorite: when she wakes up from her nap and snuggles into your neck and her deep gut giggle. #beyondamazing