Is this where I say I’m tired? Or that I want to skip tonight’s blog? Should. I need sleep. Can’t. Won’t. I feel the same way about writing that parents feel about their children. There is no day off just because you’re tired.
Tomorrow is my niece’s birthday, my little Pisces girl, Kameillia Grace, and for once I have her gift wrapped and ready to go. Why? Because I’m skipping the birthday party, which is always a crush of family and friends and pink wrapping paper, yards of bright ribbon, piles of store-bought gifts..... My gifts are, by comparison, the ugly, redheaded stepchild, but that’s not why I’m skipping the party.
When Kameillia was three, four, five years old - somewhere in there - I co-parented with my sister. That’s what she called it, but I was only a pinch hitter. My sister, a single parent, worked on call around the clock, and therefore, so did I. Believe me, I didn’t want to. I am not built to be a parent. I knew this when I was fourteen and I knew this when I said yes to caring for my very young, whip-smart, head-strong niece. But I am fierce when it comes to the well being of those I love. I was needed; I went; I was humbled. Just as I knew I would be.
The first time I stayed over night with Kameillia, I woke the next morning with her upside down in the bed and one footy-pajama’d toe up my nose. I’m skipping the stories of how I was challenged, even though they’re funny, and I’m not going to assess what I learned as a pinch-hit parent, because it was all patience, lots and lots of patience. It wasn’t my niece I had to learn to be patient with; it was myself, my desire to NOT deal with whatever was in front of me: bath, dinner, bedtime; oh yeah, and fun, children like to have fun and they want you to join them. There was not a single one of these things that I wanted to do. I wanted to write, and this child stood between me and that desire. I knew this is how it would be; I knew at fourteen. What I didn’t know was that my niece and I would develop a bond like no other.
My sister asked me to be on the lookout for something when Kameillia was in my care. What did she call it? It’s what children say when they’re still young enough to be trailing the glory of where they come from, before they fully inhabit this world. I told her I hadn’t heard Kameillia say any of those things, and I thought I hadn’t, but I was mistaken. I didn’t know that what Kameillia said was special because..... well, call it a Pisces thing. We experience no boundaries between this world and the next, and though it is often disconcerting for others, at any moment we may live and speak from the soul.
At night, once I’d gotten my niece to put on her pajamas and get into bed, after I had read her a story or two or three and fetched water and was finally leaving the room, she would say,
“Auntie, we love each other, don’t we?” And I would say, Yes.
“We will always love each other, won’t we?” And I would say, Yes.
“And we will always find each other.” I said, Yes.
“Even after we die, our souls will call out to each other.” Yes. Always.
My niece has grown up. She has forgotten our conversations. She goes by Grace now, and is very much her own person. Tomorrow afternoon, at the same time as Grace’s birthday party, I have a chance to get free training on a Mac program, training that might take me one step closer to creating a webpage. So, instead of doing what’s expected of me, I asked to see my niece before her party. That’s when I realized that’s what I really wanted. We still have our own language, Kameillia Grace and I, but we can’t speak it in a room full of people who live in this world only.