I’m shoving a Shamu balloon animal into the minuscule commuter plane’s overhead compartment. Not because it is about the cutest balloon art I have ever seen. Not because the clown that could have escaped from the pages of Water for Elephants in his cloth tattered pants and custom made Ringling Brothers shoes was pulling at my heart strings for donations. But because I have carried this damned thing for two days! Loading it into the rental van. Shoving its way into an already over crowded elevator. Protecting it from popping as my three year old niece carried it through Sea World. Pleading with the TSA agent to get it to fit through the screening. And mostly because of my niece, who is sitting in the aisle of the airplane blocking the other, irritated passengers from reaching their seats until I securely place Shamu into his ”seat” for the plane ride home.
I look back to see my daughter, calmly getting situated for the ride home. Talking to Stretch and being good. Then I look down again at Abighell, causing a scene as I latch the overhead to procure Shamu’s safety. I am thankful that my job dealing with toddlers is done. It is no longer a full time job. A duty required as a parent. It is merely something I volunteer for. Like grandparents, an aunt can return the cute little children at the end of the day, or the end of a long weekend. We had a great long weekend in San Diego. Four Shamu shows, including one in the front row of the splash zone! I’ve never done that before. Ky hated Sea World after an incident involving her lunch tray and too many seagulls. Luckily, they sell ponchos that closely resemble the famous orca. I willingly handed over my $50 bill to guarantee dryness.
I’m really hoping my prego little sister enjoyed one of her last weekends of being the mother of just two because I am ready to return them.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my nieces. My oldest, Bitzy, or Princess Tender Heart, and I are one in the same. She is me reincarnated from thirty-five years ago. Bitzy is prissy, thoughtful, a girl’s girl right down to the sparkly shoes and mini skirt. The only thing she is lacking is the Holly Hobby ruffle panties that I wouldn’t leave the house without! She is my buddy. She is my sewing partner, the fabric club President. Bitz is the one who loves the things that I love from China to New York to the perfect Halloween costume. She will follow me wherever I lead without question because she knows we are alike and kindred spirits.
Then there is Abihell – Princess Tough Nut. She can fall down a flight of stairs and pop up as if nothing happened. Bitz would have cried for days and asked for a wheel chair to survive the minor scrapes and bruises left from the fall. Abs has used Shit in context since the age of two with the perfect inflection in her voice. Her strength has caused her parents heart failure and made her Grandpa invent safety guards not yet needed by the general public. She can scale a set of cabinet drawers with the mere assist of a single knob in order to reach the snack cupboard. She is unstoppable, and so loveable. I was nothing like her until my later years, and even now it is a small glimpse of her capability. I can only pretend to imagine where her life and determination will lead her. I am envious, yet she exhausts me!
My new Little One is not here yet. She is due any day. I can’t wait to meet her and see what adventures she has in store for me.
People always ask me if I was scared to be a parent at such a young age. Of course I was. At nineteen you have no idea what you are doing and what your future holds. Do I regret it? HELL NO! Would I want to be chasing Abihell and trying to embellish Bitzy’s imagination on a daily basis? NO. I love that I have grown up with a best friend that I can call my daughter. I love that people compare us to the Gilmore Girls. I wouldn’t want to be starting over. I want to be the favorite aunt that saves Shamu for Monday’s Show n’ Tell. I want to spoil them, let them eat as much cotton candy as they can, let them stay up too late, then return them with messy hair and tired eyes to their loving parents who can endure this energy on a daily basis. I get to sleep in on the weekends, that is unless we have an early appointment to look at a possible reception site. For that I will gladly start my weekends early.