Four years ago in March, I was reeling from what had been a terrible year. My worst year, actually, in which everything- my job, my living situation, my long-term relationship- had all just crumbled, a horrible orchestral crescendo of awfulness. Then came the death of a beloved little girl, a child I was quite close to and loved dearly. She succumbed to cancer days before her fourth birthday, then my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and then I just fell apart. I quit everything and left the country in an attempt to find my way back to the land of people who were not miserable. I did return home three months later, but it was primarily because my niece was about to make her appearance and I wanted to meet her. ASAP. Fresh from the womb. I needed something to look forward to and she was it.
So then you can understand why she’s pretty special to me. When I see her, in addition to the fact that she’s my niece and is tremendously sweet, I am reminded of what she brought with her arrival. I still see the light that sparkled up during a pretty bleak time in my life. In fact, those two words- regardless of my own experience of her arrival- are ones I think that everyone would agree are accurate descriptors of her. Light. Sparkle.
This is a four-year-old with a bigger imagination than anyone I’ve ever met, who, after spilling a little bit of water while getting herself a drink, looked down at it and said, ‘I put some water on the floor for when I turn into a kitty.’ Of course. It was all planned out! She is precocious and chatty. Her favorite colors are ‘pink, purple and sprinkles’. Even more than those things, she is full of love and joy. I think she’s quite a peach; I wish everyone could meet her.
I wasn’t there for her birthday again this year, but it is really important to me that she knows just how much I love her. Love, of course, doesn’t have to be demonstrated by a box of goodies wrapped in pretty paper, but (aside from me moving in to their spare bedroom so I can give her big hugs on the daily) it may be one of the best ways at the moment. I wanted to send something for her that she would open and immediately think “WOW! I AM SO SPECIAL!” because, wow, she really is. Nothing says party-in-a-box like sprinkles, a feather boa (her mom might kill me for that particular shedding piece of merriment), balloons, a birthday wand, and a big load of confetti. Am I right?