Coming of Age

My beautiful niece, Tigerlily, surprised me a few weeks ago while I was making dinner.
She's just so beautiful I couldn't help but stop dinner and grab my camera.

She's good at surprising people.
She was born 6 weeks early.
This was actually quite inconvenient for me as I had planned my sister's baby shower for the following weekend figuring we'd have time to spare.

To be fair, we had all been secretly (and not so secretly) sending wishes to the Pregnancy Fairy for the better part of my sister's gestation that she'd sprinkle some labor dust on her a wee bit early and speed things along.
My sister was not enjoying her pregnancy one little bit, therefore, neither were the rest of us!
It didn't help that her husband had vowed not to drink any alcohol and to carefully watch his diet during the pregnancy to keep his wife company; he lost 40 pounds and she gained 50.
Oh, it wasn't pretty!

So, imagine my surprise that Sunday morning when my brother called frantically to tell me that he was driving our big sister to the hospital and we could expect our first niece in short order.

I rushed through work and practically flew to the hospital. (This was long before cell phones!) When I got there and was directed to the neonatal unit I realized that she had arrived already.
I vividly remember standing at the window hoping to catch a glimpse of her.
That's when my life changed forever....
a nurse held up this tiny, sweet little angel
(with the most hysterical spiked, blonde tipped, punk rock hairdo).
Tigerlily was screaming at the top of her lungs and her little 5 pound body had turned completely red with all the excitement.
She was beyond perfect.
I was in love! We all were!
That was 17 years ago.

In addition to certain physical familial resemblances she and I share (feet, hands, other various and sundry body parts!),
Tigerlily and I have always had our own secret language.
We're two of a kind for sure.
She thinks I'm crazy (she's so darned smart, that kid...I can't fool HER!)
From early on she knew I'd let her break all her mother's rules
when I was around...
which was all the time.
I'd let her eat in the bathtub, stay up way too late, not brush her teeth the minute she woke up (before her OJ, like my sister did...yuck!), eat lots of goodies,
let her hair go wild and
talk to her like a grown up or in pretend foreign languages.
We'd do crafts together, bake or just be silly.
My sister, (who's a fantastic mom, by the way) never really got in touch with her "crafty" side so she'd have a list of things for Tigerlily and me to do together.

My sister swears that Tigerlily is my daughter. She tells me all the time..."she's YOU!"
To this day you can often hear my sister calling Tigerlily by my name
(especially when Tigerlily is being sarcastic with her mother or gives her the infamous eyebrow!)
This makes Tigerlily and me crack up which makes my sister exasperated at first
and hysterical a second later as she hugs us both in futility.


In addition to her obvious physical beauty
(those eyes just kill me...they're the perfect combination of her beautiful Mom's shape and her ridiculously handsome Dad's color);
she's a seriously gifted student with a wicked sense of humor that keeps me in stitches.


Unlike me at her age, though, Tigerlily has a certain calm to her personality and a confidence in herself that enables her to walk at ease with young, old and her peers alike without losing her identity and her solid core values.

She is kind, caring, thoughtful, responsible, forward thinking, goal-oriented and truly wise beyond her years.
Yes, an old soul for sure.
I often tell my sister that she got off easy because Tigerlily didn't need to be raised at all....we all just got to sit back and enjoy watching her blossom
into the amazing young woman she has become.
She has made her parents (and all of us) so proud over the years.
She is a treasure and I adore her.

As I watched her buckle up and drive off in her shiny new car that day I couldn't help but wonder how the little girl who had been my shadow for so long could actually
be old enough to drive a car.
Senior year of high school is upon her.
Twinkling out there on the horizon is an incredible, limitless future.


A year from now we'll be waving goodbye to Tigerlily as she heads off to college.
Oh, my poor sister is going to be a basket case.
Actually, we'll BOTH be basket cases, unless I can convince my little partner in crime to pack me in her suitcase and bring me with her!


  1. So sweet and so funny. I laughed until I cried.
    Love, Uncle Danny

  2. Wow, she is lovely, you got some great shots. JR is giving her some tough competition rocking that bow below.

    She definitely looks wise beyon her years.


  3. A beautiful post - so thoughtful and sweet!

  4. she is beautiful - her eyes remind me of you :)

  5. Beautiful post, beautiful girl, beautiful you! ;)

  6. She is a lovely girl and I imagine it is very cool to be like Aunt Dita.

  7. Oh Dita...what a special post about your beautiful niece! How blessed she is to have you in her life!

    Thank you for another glimpse into Dita's beautiful world! :)