March 19, 2011. It’s the wee hours of my niece Cedar’s birthday. She’s thirteen. I’ll want to give her a call later. And I’ll want to tell her how I remember when she was a little bundle in my arms.
I warn myself now, to refrain. There’s a certain phase in which kids don’t want to hear about being “bundles” or babies, and that phase is most strong when kids are teens. I recall my own days being a kid when adults would begin “Why, I remember when you were a ….” and I’d tune out their words, subconsciously, as I smiled back at them. That’s when adults were most alien to me, telling me about knowing me when I was a baby, or standing only “so high.”
Back then I didn’t fathom that one day I’d be an auntie saying those words. Yet here I am. And it’s Cedar’s birthday. I already feel the tightness in my throat. “You’re 13? Why, I remember when ….”
When I first met her. She was tiny and sleeping. I’d arrived from Chicago to Minneapolis late at night, to my brother’s house. As soon as I’d stepped in I asked that he introduce me to her. He brought Cedar to me, such a tiny thing, and I took her in my arms and said little else to my brother than “Goodnight.”
My brother and sister-in-law went to bed, and I held little Cedar for hours, and sang to her, and rocked her, and fell asleep with her in my arms. She didn’t wake till after 6 a.m., the latest in the morning she had ever slept so far.
I know I’ve already told her that story, aware even at the time that she would naturally put up a buffer and consider me an alien adult for speaking so.
Yet I also know, when the time is right, Cedar will recall those words and appreciate them.
So, will I refrain from telling her another “baby Cedar” story when I talk with her later? Maybe …. Maybe not.