with my eldest niece when she was still a tot
I became an Aunty when I was quite young, there is only a ten year age difference between my niece pictured above, and myself. I may have been a young aunty but I was absolutely delighted to have gorgeous nieces and nephews to grace my life and I remain fiercely protective of them all. Even a couple of years ago, taking my niece to a concert at night, waiting for a cab or transport from the venue, I confessed to her that I felt responsible for anything that might happen to her… even though we are now much more like sisters or best friends… you can’t go from being responsible for tending to a baby to feeling no guardianship at all! But what I’d really like to share with you today is that this little miracle, named Diana, is the reason I am able to say “I love you”.
The love and the bond between my niece and I was evident to all… she would run straight past my parents to get into my arms for a hug. We spent many hours together from when she was a baby to when she began at kinder, and I was prime baby sitter while my brother and sister (in law… but I call her my sis) were looking for a new home. In fact my ‘sister’ used to tell me Diana thought the sun shone… (well you know how that sentence usually goes)
So I was surprised when one day, my niece, by then attending school, asked me, very timidly, if I loved her. I was surprised that she needed to ask, but of course I instantly told her I loved her. And this brave little soul, who put her heart on the line to ask me that question, a question that many adults dread to ask, then told me that I never say it. You could have knocked me over with a feather. I realized she was right. I just assumed people knew how I felt about them.
From that day forth not only did I make sure I said ‘I love you” to my niece as well as her brother and sister, but it began to have influence over all my relationships. I am confident telling my family I love them. I even got over the fear of telling my friends how I felt about them.
After a few years I began to not only say “I love you” but to express other thoughts and feelings about the people who are precious to me. I am able to pinpoint the way they have positively inspired me or impacted on my life, I am able to say thank you, thank you for everything that is meaningful and beautiful to me. I am the person I am now, putting forward encouragement and love into the world because of one very brave little soul who taught me the necessity of never taking feelings for granted.
So thank you Diana, and I do love you. I love Jason, Amber, and my brother and ‘sister’ too. I love my other niece and nephews (Michael, Kristian, Luke, Kate), I love my cousins, my mum’s cousins, my friends, and my online friends. I love my mentors, my inspirations, my creative muses.