I got a hug from my niece today today. I was at the top of the stairs in my sister's open living room. My dad and grandparents were down in the living room with Alivia (my niece) and Rani. Alivia looked up and saw me and was "saying hi" waving her little hands and smiling. Then she walked to the bottom of the staircase, crawled up the stairs to me in her toddler way, and then she threw herself into my lap and tried to wrap her arms around me and sunk her head into my chest. Then she looked at me and smiled and started crawling down the stairs. She went right back to playing with her stuff and enjoying everyone's company. I got a beautiful hug from my niece today.
My grandma said something about this to me on our way home. She said, "Kids just know who cares about them." It made me think about the relationship I have with this person who is only 14 months old. It's not like any I've ever had. I've never met someone as an adult who is so young and got to spend time with them regularly. I do care about Alivia very much. I cherish the times I get to be there when she wakes up from her nap. I love that when she sees me, a smile breaks out on her face. I now know how much she cares for me.
I've wondered once or twice about her future. I wonder what her voice will sound like when she can say "Mom" or "Dad" or even "Uncle Caleb." I wonder how her talents and gifts will be expressed and in what way. I wonder what kind of things she will find difficult and frustrating. And, I wonder what kind of pain and valleys she will experience. I think of my own. I pray that God does not take her down the same paths. I beg God not to take her down any of those roads. But, if He does, she will have a family that is not unfamiliar with those places, and she will not be alone.
This is Alivia's one year picture: