I realized this after reading my sister’s blog. I stayed with their family for more than one year, and got to bond with my precocious niece during that time.When her parents were in the office, I was with our 5-year old bundle of energy, trying to answer her numerous questions to the best of my ability. Admittedly, when there are times that her questions were about delicate matters, I revert to my safest answer, “Ask your Mama/Papa later”.
When her nanny was busy doing household chores, she would go to wherever I was, and say, “Tita, can you stay with me for a while?” It breaks my heart now when I remember the times I answered, “Later” to her requests, because I was busy working from home. 😦
When she got sick, I made sure that I gave her extra attention – asking her what she would like to eat, feeding her in the room while she was on bed, bringing her whatever she wanted to drink, checking her temperature from time to time, updating my sister and brother-in-law about how their little girl was.
I won’t forget how excited she was when I told her last year that I would get married in a few months, and that she would be a flower girl. She started planning what she would do for the reception (she wanted to sing, and lead the prayer). She even asked if she can wear a pink dress instead of a lilac one, because she liked pink better than my color motif.
However, as the wedding day got closer, she started saying that she wasn’t that excited about our wedding anymore. When I asked her why, she answered, “Because when you’re already married, you won’t be able to visit me anymore. And you won’t stay here with us anymore.” 😦 I tried to cheer her up by saying that of course I’ll still visit her whenever I can. But I guess we both knew, deep in our hearts, that things would be changing big time soon.
I’m now married. I’ve moved in with my husband, and haven’t been to my sister’s house in a few months. The last time I saw my niece was on my wedding day, and I haven’t been able to give her the attention I wanted because I was too busy with the preparations.
I miss my niece. I miss how she knows how to be quiet and not wake me up early in the morning because I work until the wee hours of the morning. I miss the way she tells me (after a little persuasion) how her day went at school. I miss how she talks about her friends, and what they played with. I miss how she loves the way I feed her (even if she can do this by herself, I know this is her way of making “lambing” 🙂 ), talking almost non-stop in the hopes of distracting her from eating oh-so-slowly. I miss the way she tries to delay her nap time with requests for snacks (Tita, I’m hungry!). I miss the way she bargains for more than one book to be read to her before she sleeps. I miss the way she says that she isn’t sleepy so she doesn’t need a nap; afterwards, we’d have a hard time waking her up after a three or four hour-nap! I miss seeing the happiness in her eyes when she hears the doorbell in the evening, knowing that her Mama and Papa are home at last. I miss the way she always wants to take a walk with me and her nanny after dinner, just because she wants to go out of the house. I miss the way she asks for chips before going to bed, because she knows I am fond of eating them as well. I miss the way she asks if she can sleep with me in the study (where I sleep), because “I miss you”. I miss the way she cuddles close to me in bed (even if she sometimes kicks me when she’s dreaming 😀 ).
I told her, during one of those times when she repeats that she’s going to miss me when I’m not living with them anymore, that “Whatever happens, even if I already have my own baby, you are the first BABY that I loved and cared for, and that will never change”. She just responded with a smile full of trust, at peace with the fact that what I told her is true.
I miss my niece…