Updated Wednesday, May 26, 2010; 16:40 PM:
I held my niece's ity-bitty fingers, heard her strong little voice that's just so pathetic, spied her tiny eyes peeking out from barely open slits and watched her "eat" dinner. She's still on a wee feeding tube and covered with all kinds of wires and monitors, but she's breathing on her own and seems very much aware of life.
I'd post a pic but I don't think it's fair to make her public before she can make that decision herself. She has black hair and dark eyes and weighs less than four pounds (FOUR POUNDS!). It's amazing to me that something so small and fragile will cling to life and struggle on despite all odds. And then suddenly there's a burst of strength, an explosion of growth and then wow! 18 years old and mom is crying at graduation.
Even more amazing, in just one year my little niece will be celebrating her first birthday and eating a giant wedge of cake bigger than she is right now... Feeding tubes, monitors, warming lights - all long forgotten. And I'm just lucky to be able to share in it all.
I'm an uncle again. It's all very unexpected because on Saturday I was still waiting and hoping I'd be an uncle again. But Saturday afternoon, driving home from Pittsburgh, my bf's sister calls and says she just went into labor. 8 weeks early.
So now I'm a lucky uncle again with another niece to spoil. I'm still trying to catch up with how lucky I am. So far, I've got 4 nieces and 4 nephews - not to mention 2 adopted nephews. Think of all the bday parties, the Christmas parties, the graduations, the weddings. And I'll guarantee, there'll be food at every one.
It's not about food for the sake of food, but it's a way to share love without words, without gifts, without money. We all have to eat and the gift of food speaks volumes without saying a word. And now an extra 8 weeks to share with my new baby niece.
I'm off to visit her in the hospital for the very first time. I can't wait to hear her voice (even if she's crying), to pick her up for the first time, to hold her little hand with my index finger. I can't wait for everything ahead.
Typing this up on my iPod since I don't have time to fire up the laptop.