Happy Birthday, 12-year old

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Perusing my emails today, I noticed my sister-in-law sent out an invite inviting the family to my middle niece’s 12th birthday celebration next week.  12?!!  How in the hell did that happen?  This is the littlest of my nieces, even though she is the middle child.  She was a preemie and suffered from failure-to-thrive.  She has never been a big eater; there are always much more exciting things going on in her world.  

Being the middle child in a 5-granddaughter line-up has its downfalls.  If I had a sinus infection or a surgery scheduled, of course it fell around her birthday.  She tends to always get the short end of the stick from Aunt Lala (that would be me).  I am not the best Aunt in the world, but am working to improve my street cred for the coolest Aunt in the world.  I used to rock it as an Aunt, buying them shoes that no one else would even consider, clothes and toys that were awesome (to a 3-year old – Mom & Dad, not so much).  

Even my own daughter turning 17 didn’t shake me as much as this milestone birthday.  And since I’ve been such a slacker on her birthday, I’ll try to make it up to her by listing the reasons why she rocks:

Your sense of humor.  I have always said that you inherited my sense of humor.  You know that I am your best audience, and always have been, even if your Mom or Dad (or my Mom or Dad) don’t find either of us humorous.  You don’t do it with knock-knock jokes– no, your weapon of choice is heavy sarcasm or a remark tinged with false drama.   Just like Aunt Lala.

Your boundless energy.  Just watching you at top speed wears me out.  Ever since you were able to walk, you ran.  On your tiptoes.  Seriously, I wish I had your calves; they’re perfectly sculpted like a gymnast’s.  You move like a hummingbird, never landing in one place for very long. 

Your endless affection.  While I can con your older sister into a hug, it never lasts long enough.  And forget about getting your 17-year old cousin to hug me, even if she is my kid. But you will climb into my lap, even now, and I get to squeeze the stuffing out of you.  I can play with your hair without protest, snuggle with you without you wiggling away.  

Your vocal abilities.  Being the baby of the family, you have to sometimes be loud to get noticed.  Another trait you inherited from me, and that’s why I can appreciate the noise.  

Don’t ever change – no matter what anyone says.  Except your Mom or Dad.  You have to listen to them.  Keep your sense of humor.  Don’t outgrow your sweetness.  Please?

Written by: Allyson Johns


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