As “old” as I am, I still cherish being surprised by life from time to time.  In the midst of sitting in my own self pity and depression, I am reminded of the joys of life through my 2 year old niece.  I was never a “baby” person. I know that is totally laughable since I am a pediatrician by training.  But I feel that gives me more experience and credibility in sorting out the ugly babies from the cute ones.  And yes there are plenty of ugly babies out there. Not all babies are cute. I know that is a fact and those of you who disagree are either too polite or have no capability of discernment.  I also felt that being an aunt would not change my life that much since I interact with children all day long. This would just be another one-of-the-many kids I know.

And yet,  Audrey completely surprised me in every way.  I had no idea that I would love this new little person as much I do and I am constantly happily surprised daily hat my niece can bring me so much joy.  The kind of joy that warms you up from the inside and makes you smile from ear to ear (not sure if this ever happens in Russia where smiling is not allowed.)  Perhaps this is the exact joy that parents feel with their own children- I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if I can ever experience that myself.   Her mere presence on Facetime or her most updated posts on her blog can bring a smile to my face.  I nearly cried from tears of amazement when I watched the video posting of her scootering around with confident coordination that only a 2 year old can possess.  Her large pink helmet is just resting on her head as she charges forward.   I loved hearing her cute little laugh expressing surprise and enjoyment as she halted to a abrupt break by quickly stepping off.  The laugh followed by a “ooh” indicating her small understanding and acknowledgement of danger via speeding.  It is so trite to say that I love the sound of her innocence but maybe there is nothing better than pure happiness that only children can exude that makes it so much brighter.   I love how it was her first time on a scooter and I love how I can see her brain work as she is cruising along, planning her next move.  When I watched it on her blog, I loved laughing on the subway out loud as if I was laughing with her.  I probably love her since she is objectively the cutest toddler around (just kidding), or perhaps it is because she is the perfect product of my beloved sister and her husband making me genetically related to her.  There is probably something deeply imbedded in our ancestral genes that I am not conscious of but I am still grateful for the outcome. Yes it is true, as unique as I thought I was as a person, I am not unique at all. I, too have become one of those annoying people who think their small human relations are the “cutest” thing ever!!! AHHH It happened to me!!!

It is funny to think that I have been trained a pediatrician and I have been there with many families sharing the joys of “firsts.”  There are first smiles, or first time rolling over, first time sprouting a new tooth, first words and first tantrums and yet I have never experienced so much joy than with my own niece.  Sometimes I wonder if I enjoy her so much since I get to enjoy only the “best of” Audrey given our distance. I am the NY aunt, while she can be a brat all day long in California. II guess I should not think too much of it and just enjoy her as she is!


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