Seventeen years ago my sister, Heidi, gave birth to the first grandchild on our side- my first niece, Katie. I was almost 17 at the time. I remember going out to visit shortly after her birth and taking her into my arms, hardly believeing my sister was a mom. It was love at first sight. Her snuggly, warm little body, fit in my arms as if she was made just for me. The soft, milky smell and her sweet newness triggered an immediate and powerful tenderness in me. Oh, no, she got me. Now what was I going to do? I never wanted to hand her back to her mommy who had also been caught under the Baby Katie spell.
As luck or maybe fate would have it, a year later I moved in with my sister to finish out high school in the state where she lived. Katie was my new roomie. As a toddler she amazed me. She could talk, sing, dance, tell jokes! I would tell her stories at night and she would listen with a grown up, knowing look on her little round face. Katie sparkled. I took her with me out with friends sometimes. We liked to buy her things and play with her. She never really seemed like a baby to me. Her soul being old and her mind so quick. She felt things deeply and her moods were like mountain weather- sudden and extreme. She was vibrant with life. She had no mercy whatsoever as she continued to be darling and delightful. And from that time she holds a special place in my heart.
It has been so wonderful for me to see her grow into a young woman; talented, passionate, brave and full of life and fun. As she struggles through life and all that comes with it, my heart aches for her but I feel so sure of her ability to overcome. Without much surprise I realize that she is not only my niece, but she is dear to me as a friend and sister as well. Sometimes souls just click and time, and space do not factor in. She is now the age I was when she was born and she is already more amazing than I was at that age. I am eager to see who she is when she gets to where I am now, as a mother and a wife. I know her journey will produce a wonderful and multifaceted woman in some ways more courageous than me, developing her talents and striving to overcome her trials ; but it wouldn't matter what she decides to do in her life, or how often she bites the dust- I will always love her and be so proud of her.
That tiny bundle is now taller than me but I still feel she was made for me and is still a perfect fit when I squeeze her. She came into my life and made it better. She is always my Katie.