This morning my 4-year-old niece crept into my bed, wrapped her arms around me and whispered “Good morning.” So much better than my typical wake up call that comes with an alarm and meowing cat, even if it was 6:30 on a Saturday morning.
What followed was a conversation on why another aunt calls her by a nickname when she thinks that her name is a good name. She agreed that she’s cute. She had me read her a book about dogs. She wondered when she’d know that my cat liked her. I told her when Millie licked her hand, which happened later that day.
She put her cold feet under my shirt, resting them on my stomach, convinced of her rightness because she was cold and I was warm and it was only right that I share my warmth.
“A human being,” she announced, “has two arms, one body, two legs, two eyes, one head and one chin. I am a human being.”
“What is Millie,” I asked since she had just scratched Millie under her chin
“She’s a human too,” she replied after some thought.
Then there’s the sheer exuberance of a 4 year old in a pool, splashing water, chasing her aunt around the pool, learning about blowing water through the pool noodles at unsuspecting victims. Her addition was shouting “In your face” at the victims. I did not teach her that.
In the evening, as I lead her around on Perlie, my parents’ horse. She clung to the mane and said, “It’s kind of like riding a horse.” I laughed and said, “No, it is riding a horse.” “Oh,” she said with a laugh.
Hugger, kitten lover, singer of songs, spunky charmer of old and young — my niece – and I loved spending the day with her.