Tonight I was thinking about my one of my nieces. She is a fiery little red head that has always been stubborn, feisty, and wildly lovable. I was one of the first few people to hold her after she was born. I was fourteen then, and ironically she came into this world on the same day as my best friend.

I don’t say this in a mean way, but for the first couple years of her life I thought she looked like a cute little alien baby. She has these bright blue eyes and the pale skin of a true ginger and for a long time she had no hair, just a bald head. But man when that red hair started to grow in she was cuter then ever. The weird thing is that she is my stepbrothers daughter, so in no way is she related to me but her and her mom have always looked just like blood. And my niece acts just like me. It is a family joke.

I remember one Christmas my mom and I took her to Old Navy and there was this little girl about her age there too and she was all frilled out with her hair-bowtie and her puffy dress carrying her new dolly. While Alexis, my niece, had on jeans, and old t-shirt, and some muddy boots carrying a Woody Doll (from Toy Story). She has always been different and that is what makes her so special to me. At ten years old she is already brave enough to be her complete self. I hope and pray she never looses that. She is the kid who holds bunny funerals yet is a ten-year old wrestling champion who gets straight As in school. She has always been funny too. When David and I were planning on moving down to South Carolina I had planned on setting her aside to tell her we were moving but my mom dropped the bomb at dinner. My mom said something to effect that I had an announcement and Alexis says point blank, “Are you pregnant?” we all laugh and my mom corrects her by saying we were moving far away and my niece looks down at her plate and says, “Your mean.” It broke my heart. I know in her own way she was saying “I love you and don’t move away.”

When I moved from Montana to Spokane her and her brother came to visit me and we all had a fun pool party and Chucky Cheese date. It was such a fun time. She once wrote me a letter that had a drawing of a tall stick person and a square box that had a tiny head peeking out if it. All she wrote was “I’m in the box.” As if she was sending me herself. It was adorable.

All of this to say, I am thankful for the people in my life and my family. Because my memories of the people I love are what keep me going. And today I thought about my niece back home and I couldn’t help but smile. 307235_10150277380356588_642696587_7676586_5972675_n Screen shot 2012-04-08 at 7.45.52 PM downsized_1225111135 1074586_10151814772481929_208515890_o 1074855_10151814828616929_1637229530_o

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