December 16, 2019, what I’ve officially dubbed as “The Neice-ening.”
The single most exciting and life changing occurrence since my hiatus is most definitely the birth of my niece, Myra Lucille. For months, we all planned on calling her Lucy, after her great-grandmother and who doesn’t love a baby with a grandma name? Out she popped and “Lucy” lasted for all of 0.27 seconds. She’s a solid “Myra.” It probably wasn’t helped by my brother and sister-in-law’s desire to keep to my mom’s gross-cute family tradition: M’s.
My mother and aunt are Melissa and Melinda. Then there’s Mallory and Matthew. Now there’s Mason and Myra. All the sibling pairs of M’s. It’s gross. It’s cute. It’s legally binding.
Additionally, we’re totally friends and it makes me overwhelmingly happy. She’s a much calmer baby than my nephew ever was, but Mason’s never taken an interest in me. He tolerates my existence as he does not have the power to alter it, and that’s the extent of our relationship. I love the boy, don’t get me wrong. I’m proud of the person he’s evolving into, and one day he’ll realize I’m the aunt to come to when the real questions are being thrown down. But until then, I stay comfortably in the background where he likes me. Having Mason’s relationship as the foundation, I can’t describe how stoked I am that Myra thinks I’m cool (or at least that’s what I’ve projected onto her tiny infant being).
Christmas eve, my family keeps a tradition in which everyone spends the night at my parents’ house. As Myra was just weeks old, my brother’s clan was obviously exhausted. Mason climbed into be with “Gran’a and Bunny,” Matthew took refuge on the livingroom couch after ditching his young fiancée with the baby. I, of course, being the only single and childless spinster of the bunch, got dealt the surprisingly comfortable fold-out couch in mom’s home office down the hall from baby.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse”
Until exactly 0302 when Myra began to wail all down that hardwood hallway. I was already partially awake due to my stupid work/sleep schedule (see how good I am at balancing?), so I tiptoed down the hall. I carefully opened the door to reveal Bria expertly, though semi-frantically, replacing Myra’s diaper.
“Sorry,” she whispered through sleep’s fog.
I offered, “Do you just want me to take her? Let you get some sleep?” I’ve never seen someone hoist a child as quickly as Bria did in that moment (and I’ve seen The Titanic on several occasions). Wordless, and with a heart full of love for her newborn, Bria offered up the child.
I grabbed both baby and diaper bag and we made our way back to my remarkable luxurious couch set up. 45 minutes, a bottle, and a burp later, the two of us were both passed out on our cloud-like sanctuary. I woke up around 0530, scared to death I’d crushed her. But no, she was happily cradled between my side and the giant sock monkey my mother insists that every child must grow up with. I returned her to her crib for safe keeping. Christmas day 2019 I knew my niece would ruin me.
Any time Myra fusses, I volunteer to take her. Somehow, she magically stops fussing. I don’t get it, but this child and I have a “thing!” I didn’t have the luxury with Mason, and there’s something about having an infant’s approval that makes the judgements of everyone with a fully developed frontal lobe incredibly insignificant.
My brother is currently undergoing a lot of stress, and Myra is up at all hours, he tells me. Last Wednesday at Family Dinner, she woke up mid-meal. She usually does, and I don’t mind cutting my dinner a little short to hang out with her. Immediately soothed, we pranced around the house, she being passed through several sets of arms, into the cleaning phase, through the dessert phase. Happy baby, she’s so easy. Once it was time for everyone to leave, Bria bundled her up as she began her crocodile wails. “Oop, just give her to me,” and I took her, finished her bundling, all tears ceased.
“Y’know, if you just ever want to come over the house and… hang out with Myra…” My brother chuckled. He’d called me a week earlier and detailed their nightly 11pm and 2am hangouts due to her restlessness. We buckled her in the seatbelt, Myra’s fussing starting up yet again.
“Oop, just give her to me,” and I grabbed her, car seat and all, and immediately the whining stopped. I threw my head back and roared laughter – laughter that didn’t even disturb her. I couldn’t help it. I’ve never had this kind of influence on a child before, and I’ve got to admit the power is hilarious, confusing, and intoxicating.
My niece and nephew are the coolest kids in the world. All other children of the world can basically kick rocks, idgaf.