niece

long blonde hair,
big blue eyes,
challenging and inquisitive as only four year olds can be.

wearing the clothes i gave her;
always her favourites,
even when my sisters in law disagreed.

a small girl,
a tall but still little child,
in shades of pink,
with a long pixie cap and a frilly skirt.

and my mother in law smiling
and clapping her hands
the first time she tried on her pirate costume.

me: “i wish i could dress like a pirate all the time.”
MIL: “you already do”
me: “touché”

i miss the way she felt when she sat on my lap
i miss her beautiful big blue eyes
i miss the way she called me “aunty”
or sometimes “uncle”, depending on her mood
i miss how she looked wearing the clothes i gave her
and her smiling face when she unwrapped the presents i’d bought
i finally understood celebration, i thought,
when i saw the joy on her face at the things i’d done for her
not many, admittedly
not as many as her other aunt
i was her “bad aunt”, so we all joked
and i loved her as much as her “good aunt” did
maybe more, because she represented
something i never had
something perhaps i could never understand
but still i loved her
in her little knitted pixie boots which i bought her for christmas
and her special pink jumper which i bought for her birthday
still i loved her
more than i could ever
ever
express.

– a.p.

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