Song – Tracy Chapman – Fast Car
Nieces are awesome. There are many reasons for this, not least because they give you a valid reason to do the hokey kokey in your living room first thing in the morning, and allow you to dig out your favourite toys from your childhood “so Summer can play with them”, leading to hours upon hours of fun, all validated by the simple phrase “Oh, I’m just showing her how to play with the Noah’s Ark.” It’s genius.
Summer Lily is fifteen months old now, and yet every time I see her I feel like she teaches me more than I teach her – from working out that the Light Saber app on my iPhone NOT ONLY lets you swipe the phone around the room and make the whooshy noise, but also plays the awesome Star Wars soundtrack while you do it (I don’t even like Star Wars, but OMG FUN), to managing to make my Macbook type in Greek and I have NO IDEA HOW. Or even that Cupasoup boxes make awesome maracas. She’s a girl of many talents.
Sometimes, though, she does wonderful things that I can’t even explain. Like yesterday – I was taking care of her at my Mama’s house while they finished sorting out their new garage. Papa started drilling some shelves and she got spooked and ran to me with her arms outstretched, so I scooped her up and started dancing to the radio to calm her down. She seemed happier as the song finished, and the drilling had stopped, so I put her down. But as I did, Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car started playing, and she asked to be picked up again. She nuzzled into my neck and I danced slowly around the room singing it to her. The lyrics suddenly resonated with me in a truer form than they ever had before:
‘And I had a feeling that I belonged,
And I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone.’
I don’t think it was a coincidence that yesterday was the day I started tackling one of the many Scary Tasks I’ve been burying for months: I started writing my second novel. Sometimes you need reminding that you can do something even if it’s scary.
That’s why nieces are awesome: there was something about dancing with Sums, and feeling that she really trusted me, that made me feel like an actual grownup, and that I was capable of pretty much anything. Well, anything except typing in Greek.