You’ve grown up so fast. I still remember the little chubby baby who ran around in her diapers annoying her older sister. I remember during Nanny and Papa’s 50th Wedding Anniversary when you went to hide in the closet and my pinky finger got in the way. It hurt really bad and the tears came and I felt even sadder to know that love could sometimes cause physical pain. A moment went from such fun to horror at the sight of my bleeding finger. I quickly forgave and moved on, realizing we were both young and accidents happen. There was a short period of time where we clashed a bit and I shook my head and wondered what was I going to do with this rambunctious little niece of mine?
Time passed, we both grew older and it was like that space of time never existed. In fact, some times I look back in my memory and it feels like it really WAS just a dream and we always got along, good as gold. You and your sisters lived with us for a few years here and there and it started to seem as if I had these 4 younger sisters instead of 4 extra nieces. Then the time came for you and your sisters to move back up North and I cried after you left. I cried for all of you as if my sisters were moving away, never to return. The peace and quiet of the house that I thought I always wanted quickly got old and I wished for all the singing and dancing and even the yelling. Our house felt like a ghost of what used to be. For a time, I wasn’t like an only child whose older siblings had gone away and left home because while you were there, there was always someone to watch a movie with. There was always someone to play games with. Now that you were gone, I never felt so lonely in my life.
Years past and every time I saw you and your sisters, I jumped for joy. I missed you all so very much and awaited your return with the excitement of a young kid on Christmas morning. I tried to make the time last as long as possible before the day I knew would come; the day you would leave once again. I hated the times when 2 years or more would pass before I saw you again. It was sheer torture. Somehow I always hung on for the next time, though.
Social Media allowed me to have more contact with you than ever before. I could now hear about your life and feel like I was actually a small part of it, instead of just an outsider. I would still wish to be there for big events and parties, to share each moment with you. The day I got engaged, I wanted to include you and all my other nieces in my special day, but the cost of that many people, I saw was unrealistic. Your older sister, Beckah became my Maid of Honor, which I doubt was a huge surprise for anyone, knowing how close we were. I put some of my closest friends as bridesmaids and I wished I had room for all my nieces, too. The day I had a best friend back out of being a bridesmaid should have been a sad and depressing day, but instead I was secretly happy. I now had an excuse to add another niece in under the guise of making the numbers fit….5 groomsmen needed 5 bridesmaids, right? I now had a chance to add ONE niece, but it also came with the fact that the other 4 nieces I didn’t pick might feel left out. I took my chances, though and picked you. You were the next niece, closest in age, that I had become closest to in our later years. I felt like you were also a good friend of mine now and I wanted you to be a bridesmaid even before one of mine backed out. Immediately, I felt like the chance opened up for a reason and it was meant to be. I was so excited to ask you and even more excited when you accepted.
Back in 2009 was the last time I saw you, back when you were a bridesmaid at my wedding. I have since seen 2 of your sisters a couple times, but not you, your older sister or my two great nephews. I miss you ever so much and watch on the side lines as you grow up each day. Since 2009, you have got engaged, while I looked at the pictures and smiled, crying happy tears about the little niece that would become a bride. You then got married at a little court ceremony, which I wanted to be at so badly, but cried those happy tears again at knowing you were so happy and had found a great man. Your marine man went off to war and I ached for what you would go through while he was away. I wished many times that I could see you and give you a great big hug I knew you probably needed many times over this past year. Now the time has come for you to move to another state, far away from not only me, but from your family and friends in Indiana. Your husband will be home shortly and I am filled with extreme happiness for you, as I know you have awaited this day for so long. I again cry those happy tears about you moving to a new home, seeing your husband again and taking the next step towards the future you two will have. I know your family and friends will be crying both happy and sad tears right now. Happy for the same reasons as me and sad because they will miss you the same way I have missed you all these years. I can understand a little bit of how they will miss you because I have been there and continue to be there, but my heart aches for my other nieces who have to say bye to their beloved sister, for my oldest sister and brother-in-law who have to say bye to their baby girl who is now a woman, for the friends who have to say bye to the one who brought laughter and joy to their lives for many years. We have to remember that it’s not forever and we will see her again. For some, maybe sooner than others, but this goodbye doesn’t mean forever. It’s more of a See you later.
To my niece Lydia, I love and miss you more than you know and I am so proud of the woman you have grown up to be. I am so happy for the new life that awaits you and I wish you and Dru the best that life has to offer you. May your days be filled with love and joy! Always know that I am just a virtual hug or shoulder away.