Wednesday, April 22, 2015


My niece just celebrated her 11th birthday!
I think I am still in shock
I remember rushing the the hospital when my SIL was in labor and thinking, maybe I will be here next, tucked away in a labor and delivery room while everyone else waits on our child's arrival.

We had her little brother over the night before the party, for an overnight and a marathon session of Minecraft with his uncle. We ate and gamed and then loaded him into the car for the party...working hard to keep him awake along the 45minute drive home.

My niece had only a few friends over, although she invited her entire class of 30+ kids, only 9 or so said they'd come. It ended up being a good small party where she was not so overwhelmed that she could be social with everyone, including the two boys that came. 
I introduced myself to every kid as the birthday girls Auntie 
which seemed to make them all feel at ease.
It was a 50's theme and I took photos 
 Since all these kids grew up around camera phones, no one had an issue having their photo taken, or their activities documented.
Most of them posed anytime the camera was anywhere near my face.

In fact, they were so relaxed that when they had a trivia question, they asked me first:
Was Michael Jackson's music popular in the 50's?
I held it together and explained that he wasn't, and that he didn't start singing until the 60's with his brothers in the Jackson Five. 
No one danced but it was a social peek into the mind and body language of tween.

When it was time for pin the tail on the donkey, my niece did a clothing change and came out in her skinny jeans, mini heels and tank top, still sporting her eye liner and lipstick that her mom applied earlier. My brother and hubby took a deep sigh, as this was the moment when she started looking like a teenager, a heartbreak, someone they need to worry about, someone who was suddenly becoming themselves, or trying to.

I remember 11, I was beyond awkward. Self-assured, but shaky in my convictions.
Not this lady....she is sturdy in her beliefs and self.

When it was time to have cake she posed with her cupcakes and kids descended on them like they hadn't just eaten the hamburgers and french fries and milkshakes my brother and SIL had just fed them. I have been given the great pleasure of making the birthday cakes for all of my brothers kids. Since birth!
I explained to them that I would not be able to make cakes for my own kids and that this would give me so much pleasure....and save them whether it is one dozen cupcakes or four dozen cupcakes I am your girl! Plus I also make a personal cake for the birthday kid, to do with what they wish. When the kids were little little they were able to put their fist in the cake or face in the cake and enjoy it in their own way, while their guest could enjoy a booger free cupcake of their own. 
Free from cooties and saliva.

My nieces cake was presented on an vinyl album, and made to look like a record.
Her request, and the cake was chochochocholate, with chocolate chips inside the cake.
She tore it apart and ate it with a fork, but the pleasure was in dismantling it as she saw fit.

She is 11 now, and it feels like time is speeding up
Maybe it is that I am more present, or she is more mature 
either way, 
I just hope she can always be true to herself, 
and talk openly with me when she needs something 
big or small, like what she wants next years cake to look like.


Mali said...

I love that you were able to do this. My niece turns 7 on Friday, and the following week they're coming to visit, and I get to babysit her for a whole day while her parents are at a conference. I'm planning to bake cupcakes (got any surefire recipes?) and have a fancy birthday afternoon tea, just the three of us, as no doubt she'll be having a party on Saturday. I don't get to do it for my own kids, so it will be fun to do it for her.

I laughed that she posed every time she saw the camera. My sister is a photographer, and my niece does that too. It's nice to catch her more naturally sometimes.

I hope you keep that special relationship. Another now-23 year old niece saw me as someone she could talk to when her parents drove her mad - as they do for teenagers - and it was important to all three of us (her, me and her mother) that I could be the auntie/confidante.

nicole said...

Sounds like a wonderful, fun party!! I think this special relationship will persist for you. It sounds like you understand your niece well and that she'll be comfortable to talk with you about things that she may not want to discuss with her parents.