The grocery store is on the way home from preschool and since we carpool, I took both Fiver and my niece Jordan with me to pick up a few things. They managed to cram both their little butts into the front seat of a Kroger grocery cart car and proceeded to shout out driving directions at one another like an old married couple. “Let’s take 95!”, yelled Jordan. “There’s too much traffic”, my son rebutted. I asked if they could take a left on Broad (the condiment aisle) so that I could pick up some mayo. (Dukes, of course.) We were having a blast with it and a shopper walking towards us smiled as I threw my weight into the careening cart of giggles, pushing it out of her general trajectory . “You have a beautiful family”, she told me. I thanked her and agreed that indeed I was blessed. I didn’t bother to correct her, what she saw was true.
I sometimes wonder if I would see my two nieces differently if I didn’t have one child and secondary infertility. We’re just not sure that a sibling is in the cards so each time that I look at Jordan and Reyna I see not only two beautiful little girls but the foundations of the women who will be there for my son when Sam and I are gone. They are his family now and, maybe more importantly, going forward. Something about that knowledge makes me hold them both a little tighter in my arms. They are not mine per se, they are blessed with wonderful mothers of their own and don’t need another. But I have come to see them as a special gift not only to their own parents but to myself, specifically. I was there the day both these girls were born, I was actually in the room at the moment Jordan came into the world and it transformed me forever. I know that there’s something special about being an aunt, that there are things they will confide in me in years to come that they won’t tell their own mothers. I look forward to holding that place in their hearts.
But for now, I am thoroughly enjoying the simplicity of our relationships. We share a love of cuddles, laughing, and all things sparkly. Thankfully boys don’t have cooties yet. Its pretty awesome. On Saturday I got to spend time with both my nieces in very different ways. We started the day at the National Zoo where the older cousins whipped up a couple of manes out of construction paper and plates. Painted faces completed their transformation into lion and lioness. Fierce!
They tried scaring the lions with their roars but much to their shared disappointment, it didn’t generate much response from the den.
There was too much to see at the zoo. The Reptile House was more popular than anyone expected at this age and Fiver had to be coaxed into the Ape House because he thought it was too stinky. We barely made it to the sea lions before two very sleepy cubs had to be carried out of the park.
After lunch I left the Worthington clan to head over to Reyna’s house, I can’t believe we’re closing in on a year. As she posed for me on the bed in her ruffled bloomers and fashionable beret I couldn’t help but sing my own special Reyna version of Don’t Cha, changing the lyrics to, “Don’t cha wish your baby was cute like me? Don’t cha wish your baby had chub like me?” Reyna looked at me like I had lost my mind and my sister laughed at the both of us.
Oh, how I cherish the chub…
I loved watching Reyna and her parents play. Katy pleaded and pleaded for a kiss… boose?….boose? Denied like an insurance claim.
Truth be told, the last thing I want to do on my days “off” is hold a camera up to my eyeballs. I hate the way it hangs heavily on my neck like an anvil on a strap, getting in the way of joys like holding Reyna, chasing my son, tickling Jordan into a fit. I think it was worth it on Saturday, though. I’m trying to let go of the pressure to take perfect pictures because we’re not perfect people living in perfect circumstances. Simply, I need to see the beauty amidst the chaos, the gods and goddesses that live in details like curly baby hair, and the love we have for the people we live our lives for now. Pictures can be about gratitude and I figure I could use a healthy dose of that myself. So here it is, my Saturday, my gratitude, my cubs.