My niece, who we lovingly refer to as 'Birdie' (so nicknamed in utero by Luca) is a spirited girl, and I love her for it. I know it must frustrate her parents sometimes, but when I am around her I just see a girl who is always going to know what she wants and never be afraid to ask for it. And I like that in a little girl, because I think those kinds of little girls, with proper guidance, grow to be self-assured and strong women.
I took the kids to meet up with my sister in law and Birdie this afternoon for an impromptu ice cream cone. We had a few hours to kill and the temps were in the mid-90s, so we sat outside and let the kids run around on the enclosed patio and toss gravel and little sticks around. Birdie was so excited to see her big cousins, and she dove right into playtime, even finding a small pink sample-size spoon and using it to dig in the dirt. We stayed for about an hour, eating ice cream and talking and watching the kids have a blast together.
When it was time to go, Birdie was not thrilled.
We walked to our car on the east side of the building, and they walked to theirs on the north side. The sounds of Birdie's shrieks in protest followed us to our car. I held both kids' hands in mine as we crossed the parking lot, and Luca looked at me and said, "Hey mama? I think Aunt Syd is a really good mommy."
I agreed with her, and smiled to myself as I got both kids strapped into their seats. And as we pulled out, I saw my sister in law and Birdie standing by their car in some sort of battle of the wills. Syd is pregnant with baby #2, and there she was looking a little defeated as she held a stubborn Birdie on her hip and tried to coerce her into the carseat without a fit.
We made a sharp left, pulled up behind her car, and rolled down our windows.
"It may not seem like it now, but I just wanted you to know what Luca told me, Syd. She told me, 'I think Aunt Syd is a really good mommy.'"
The look on her face? The gratitude for the kind words just when they were needed? Priceless.
Sometimes, the littlest among us know best what to say.