new life.

Yesterday, my niece Riley Jo graced us with her presence. When my brother called me, I was definitely one of those “I’m-crying at-work-with-joy-let-me-run-to-the-bathroom-so-no-one-else-sees” kind of people. The emotion and joy that spread through me was surprising. I knew I’d be happy, we’ve been waiting for this child for 9 months but WHOA this kind of joy completely caught me off guard. The icing to the cake was finding out she’s a girl. I would have been ecstatic with either but I just know deep down she’s going to be my girl, my buddy. Like, we’re going to hang out.

My brother & sister (in-law to be exact, but let’s leave it as sister) live in California. While it’s been hard for a while to have them far away, yesterday was the I NEED TO BE AT THE HOSPITAL! sort of feeling. I was peppering my brother with questions.

What’s she like?

How does she look?

Who does she look like?

What is she doing this very instant?

Send me a photo! Ok, send me TONS of photos!

To which my brother was like – SLOW DOWN she was just born for Peter’s sake! Never mind the fact that he didn’t sleep, I expected him to be fully functional and excited as I was.

That was one level of excitement. And then he sent me a picture. Thanks to modern technology, I got to see my niece on my phone minutes after she arrived. WOW did that take me off guard. She is beautiful, absolutely stunning with perfectly round features, a baby nose and a head of hair. She has the “do” going on from what I can tell and I can’t wait to touch that beautiful black fluffy hair.

The entire night all I could think about was Riley and how I can get out to California this instant and see her. I feel this draw to her and she has no idea I even exist, how cool is that! So, since I was thinking so much about her, I decided to enlist my creative skills to make an “aunt list” – all the things I want to be and do with her. I want to be the hip aunt.

Luckily, I have someone to look to when composing this list – my Aunt Jan. She’s pretty spectacular and has been in attendance at almost every big event of my life. She’s got the spunk in the family and I love that about here. So, here’s a few lessons:

  1. She lives in Baltimore and on first notice of something going on, her flight is booked. So, to be a good aunt I think I’ll have to get my booty a-flying. I may have just convinced myself to fly out next week :).
  2. She’s got spunk. I remember vividly when she’d show us her dance moves, talk about her travels, and just be the witty lady around the table. Yep, I suppose I’ll have to get my spunk on.
  3. She’s got heart. My Aunt Jan cares. She cares about the world, about the issues that matter and about our family. Whenever she is here she is FULL of insight on what to do about any situation. She sees the bigger picture of our family and works so hard at making sure everyone is taken care of and has hope. Looks like I’ll have to show heart to a new baby, not with words yet but by being there.
  4. She encourages me in MY hobbies. This is what I love most about her – she sees the individual in me and supports what I’m doing. When I went to Africa, she was right there with donation money. As I dabbled in photography, she thought my greeting cards were good enough for printing (and was my first customer!). After I bought a house, she was here painting (okay we went to the farmer’s market while everyone else painted) and full of house warming gifts and love. She loves and respects me as an individual and I have treasured that.
Did I mention I’m ecstatic to be an Aunt? Something about this brand new life concept just has me going. Riley has to learn EVERYTHING yet. She can be whatever she wants and I’m ready to encourage that (within reason). She is fresh and new. She’ll have quirks and hobbies. She’s going to change this world.
Thank God for new life. We as “old lives” need these bursts to keep us going. We need to see the hope in the newness of a baby’s skin, eyes, and self. And we need to discover everyday. I love you Riley and can’t wait to meet you.

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