Through the eyes of a child

April 9, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Posted in Random | Leave a comment

Shortly after my sister got married, she moved to Florida with her husband, who was from Michigan but had family down south. A few years later, my mom and her husband migrated to the sunshine state as well. Never one for stifling humidity, possible death by gator, and the crippling insecurity brought on by being surrounded by surgically-enhanced trophy wives, I opted not to join them. Instead, I go see them once a year or so.

Every time I go to visit, I worry that my 6-year old niece, Stella, won’t remember me. I worry that I’ll have to try to win her affection all over again or impress her with how awesomely fun I am (which is not very much; children normally freak me out a little). But somehow, no matter how long it’s been since she last saw me, she still seems to adore me. I am constantly confused, amazed, and delighted at this discovery.

While I’m still on the fence about whether or not I want kids (with one leg creeping over to the “no” side), I love being with Stella. I love watching the sense of wonder and discovery that a child seems to posses. And it doesn’t hurt that she also thinks I’m particularly awesome. If you ever need a self-esteem boost, just borrow an adoring niece for the day.

The last time I visited, Stella was in the living room watching tv with her father when a Victoria’s Secret commercial came on. A tall, thin, leggy model with long dark hair strutted on the screen. “Look,” Stella yelled, “it’s Aunt Katie!” I heard her father laugh in response. “Wow, Stella,” he said, “that’s really nice.”

Okay, so maybe the kid’s a bit delusional. Perhaps it’s time for the parents to take her to get her eyes checked. But I can’t help but wonder if maybe we’d all be a little better off if we saw things the way Stella does. If everyone was the best version of themselves. If everything was new and shiny and exciting and dramatic. Of course, during that same visit, Stella sliced her foot on a wicker basket, and as a few tiny drops up blood welled up and ran over her toes, she wailed “I don’t want to dieeeee!” so maybe there’s also something to be said for the wisdom that comes with age.

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