A discussion takes place:
“What’s my nickname?”
“We call you Itty Bitty.”
It’s a name that fits my pint-sized niece with the fairy-wing voice. She’s had the nickname since she was a baby, and now that the baby fat has mysteriously melted away from her thighs, belly, and cheeks over the past four (and eleven-twelfths) years, she’s just at the cusp of out-growing Itty-Bitty like she outgrew last year’s shoes.
When you become an Aunt, you’re not quite sure about the bundle of joy that has given a prefix to your parents. Grandparents. Sounds so old. So does “Aunt,” come to think of it.
So it takes some adjusting. Just like those snaggy diaper tabs the first time you offer to babysit for your sister and brother-in-law and then remember (after they’ve bolted for the door) that you haven’t actually changed a diaper in, say, two decades.
But then that Itty Bitty thing squirming after balls on the floor mysteriously loses all the baby chub and elongates into an elegant little slip of a woman-child.
A woman-child with beauty that flashes unguarded in her eyes when you smile at her.
A woman-child who loves to “do your hair” and whose delicate fingers send shivers down your spine each time they float through your strands.
A woman-child who has her own ideas on how to decorate her room, a baby bird’s nest, or the dinner table for her cousins.
A woman-child who runs shyly to your side and nudges her hand into your own as you walk across the lawn.
A woman-child who can utter words and dress them in gowns of magic when she says, “Hey Aunt Beth…”
She says it in such an Itty-Bitty voice. But it’s a voice that’s growing so quickly into a beautiful young woman.