My family came to visit us this weekend. My mom, my dad, my sister, and her two children all piled into my dad’s new truck and drove seven hours just to hang out with us for a while. We shopped and ate and talked and hugged and had an all-around good time.
It was a little sad for me, though, to see how grown-up my niece, Kourtney (the gorgeous girl shown above) has become. My nephew, Gary, is growing taller by the minute. It seems that nothing can make you feel as old as when you see kids around you growing up. I remember when Kourtney was so tiny that she could sit in a shoebox, and I would push her around the living room, making “vroom vroom” noises and laughing as her wild morning hair flipped about. She used to follow me around the house, her tiny footsteps behind me, saying, “Tia! Tia!” to get my attention. She loved Selena, and would give us dramatic performances of the latest Selena song, complete with emotional flailing of the arms and the occasional fainting-to-the-floor act.
She seems to remember me as the aunt who tried to kill her several times. She remembers being in the car with me when I backed into a pole at a Payless store. She remembers the time we thought we might drown in a swimming pool in Corpus Christi (who knew I wasn’t strong enough to carry her through the deep end?) She remembers getting caught in an elevator alone, with me screaming on the other side of the door, and the hotel janitor jamming his fingers into the crevice to pry open the doors and reveal tiny little Kourtney, crying and screaming, “Tia! Tia!” She is so small in my memories, never more than four or five years old, and I was just a pre-teen, trying to be the “cool” aunt that I had always wanted.
She’ll be celebrating her fifteenth birthday this summer, at a quinceanera planned just for her. She’ll be in a gorgeous dress, the center of attention, with her teenage friends surrounding her, and I’ll be on the sidelines, teary-eyed and wishing I could turn the clock back to a day when she fit in a shoebox. Her “little” brother will be all decked out and looking like a fine young man, and that night, after the party’s over, I’ll have a familiar dream in which I’m holding them both in my arms, their tiny little voices calling out, “Tia! Tia!”