I love my niece a lot. As most doting Aunties do. I have been in love with her from the moment my brother placed her in my arms when she was barely half an hour old. It was the day before my birthday, 8 years ago, and I remember my brother apologising for not having a birthday card or present for me. I said at the time, “I don’t care, this is the best birthday present EVER”.
And she has been the best present ever the last 7 and a half years, and she still continues to be. Much love, laughter and good times have been with her, along with my nephew. They have both taught me so much. They have both changed how I view life. And, indirectly, my niece has been a major reason for the biggest and best changes in my life-if it wasn’t for her love of Michelle Bridges when she was 5 years old, I would never have even looked twice at 12WBT when researching health/nutrition/running etc.
Tonight I was on the phone to my niece and she was telling me about her swimming. She is quite a good swimmer, and did really well at her recent swimming carnival. She was telling me about the race she liked the most. She liked the one she found to be hard, because although she knew it was going to be hard, she was really happy she was doing it, and it wasn’t as hard as she thought it would be, and it made her feel good that she had done it. “It was still hard, but it made me feel good that I could do it”. Simple words, but so very effective. In the end it wasn’t about coming first, it wasn’t about how she would appear to others. It was about rising up to the challenge and doing her best, and being proud that she gave it her best.
Such a simple concept, yet as adults we sometimes get so caught up in comparing ourselves to others, about always having to do better than last time, about not wanting to appear incompetent in front of others. But at the end of the day we should take note of exactly this. We should just get out there and do it, do our best with a smile on our face, and enjoy it. Because you know what, when you do that, you probably will succeed more than you thought possible. She did, she came second in that race, competing against older children, but she never mentioned that to me in our conversation.
This is not the first time she has come out with such wonderful ideas and thoughts about things. There has been many a time her words and insights on life have given me much comfort, and changed the way I look at certain situations. Children can have such a way of helping us to step back and view the challenges in our lives and what they mean through a completely different set of eyes.
My heart is completely consumed with love for her tonight.