At age twelve, Bug became an aunt on Tuesday when Baby Ruth was born. She's a little excited but isn't totally on the bandwagon yet.
But imagine you're not even four yet and suddenly you have a niece. Well you can't even grasp the concept, but that's what Kelly Michelle was to me....my niece while I was still a toddler!
Through our growing up years it was more like Kelly was a play companion and we spent a lot of time doing things together and at each other's houses. Even once we were grown and with families of our own, I don't think we have had the same usual aunt and niece relationship. It's more like a cousin you love like a close friend.
But the adults in my life knew what the real relationship was and that meant when Kelly was riding my tricycle and the handlebars broke off, her grandparents were all like it's okay dear, it's not your fault, it was rusty. But I was sure if I'd have been the only one riding it instead that it would have stayed together much longer.
I remember sharing a tub bath with her at one point. A bubble bath. And I was horrified and shocked to find at the end of our time together there a brown log turd floating beneath the bubbles!
I know sometimes after her little sister, Paige Ann, was born I'd gang up with Kelly against Paige and at other times I'd feel sorry for that itty bitty girl and take up for her against Kelly.
We rodes horses and jenny together. We did wiener roasts together. We skinny dipped together in my sisters pond (sshhh..don't know if she ever knew that). We pranked people together. Helped my brother-in-law bail and pick up hay together. When I was little I envied that she had blond hair, that she took tumbling.
She could crank a motor that had a manual choke on it when she was still not much more than a toddler. But I taught her the finer points of driving a standard in my 1979 Mustang. In high school I remember threatening a good freind of mine who was interested in her about how I'd hurt him if he hurt her. And I remember my Senior year when a girl started a rumor about me being pregnant, Kelly stuck right up for me, then came to me later on the side and asked "you aren't are you?" No, I wasn't.
She's practical, creative, has a ball around folks, though she seldom seeks out a crowd. She's made a career out of being an elementary school secretary. She's got just that right mix of tough and love to do it. Raised two boys. Married my best friend's brother.
So, I don't know if I love her like most people love their nieces, but I do know I treasure her, count on her always being herself and don't get to visit with her half as much as I'd like to.