Monday, January 03, 2005

One "Cool Aunt" Trophy, Coming Right Up!

My sister, her husband, and their nearly-three-year-old daughter, having recently moved to Portland from Alaska, were able to spend Christmas with us for the first time this century. After reaching maturity five years ago they immediately moved to Anchorage to mate and spawn, but now they have made their way back upstream close to their own birthplace, where they will stay only long enough to lay eggs and die. No, wait, my metaphor is collapsing. Help!

Anyway, they live in Portland now, and managed to make the three-hour drive for Christmas. (WE drove for SIX hours! Who's the more devoted offspring NOW, hey? Fie on you, grandchild-begotting sister!) I hadn't seen them in almost a year, and I soon discovered that a nearly-three-year-old niece is even more fun than a nearly-two-year-old niece. She bosses other people around, she talks in complete sentences, she has a budding sense of humor!

Naturally I tried to hog her all weekend, because 1)I haven't seen her in a year, hello! 2)My secret campaign to be her "cool aunt" must now enter its active phase. I bided my time while she lived eight jillion miles north of me because she won't remember much at all of those first three years anyway, right? But NOW, now I can swoop in with the coolness. (Have I mentioned my terrible inabililty to NOT be the best at anything I seriously attempt? It comes with being the oldest child, I'm told. Still, it's pretty chidlish sometimes. Not that I'll be ceasing my quest to be the cool aunt, you understand, but I do acknowledge the pettiness of it.)

I think I renewed the bond we made last Christmas, what with the blowing of bubbles, the opening of presents, and the dancing to Christmas music. Then there was this: Our two families shared my parents' huge camp trailer after all the festivities on Christmas Eve. Just after we got settled and turned the lights out, my niece said plaintively at the other end of the trailer, "I want my Aunt Thel now."

Then of course I had to get up and mop my heart off the floor. What a mess!