To my darling nieces,
You in your barely lived lives have taught me so many lessons about how to live mine. Here are the ways you have inspired me:
You enjoy simple pleasures, like jumping crumbled waves in five inches of water, holding me next to you so I'll do the same. Over and over and over again.
You love life vigorously, and you don't want to miss a moment of it. This love causes a fear of missing out, or FOMO, and it keeps you up at night. Literally.
You seek individuality. Like wearing different shoes on each foot, or outfits you created because you love the separate pieces, even though they don't match by any stretch of the imagination, and despite my best urging toward a nice-looking alternative.
You want to be active for no other reason than to enjoy the physicality of movement. Sometimes, in fact, you can't sit still. Can't do it.
You know what you want in life and you're not afraid to go after it. Even when it's a toy that isn't yours but you want to make it yours. Especially when that happens.
You're fearless. You see an older child do a backflip off the edge of a pool, and you immediately attempt to mimic the act. To the utter horror and breathlessness of your onlooking aunt.
You tell the truth (mostly). You say things like, "Your belly-button looks weird," or "Yes, I hit my sister."
You're unafraid of consequences. So much so that you avoid my countdown warning, leaving me in the lurch after I've given you till the count of five, including the half-numbers.
You have unending curiosity. It really doesn't end. Just when I think I've satisfied your original question, and the nine that followed, your mind has found a new subject to interrogate.
You dance as if no one is watching. But someone is always watching. You make sure of that.