She was just having her first birthday when I met her. She was the cutest thing I ever laid eyes on. Because she was a mixed baby, I imagined my own future babies to look just like her. When I imagine my babies in heaven, to be honest, I picture the way my nieces looked. That first day with her, I was in love. She played with me and even let me hold her. Soon we would go on a walk in the park and Leilia reached up and took my finger in her hands and we were off. My heart literally turned to mush. Every day I could be with her and her sister after that moment I spent with them even if it was a drive. Then they moved close to where we lived and my life changed forever. My ex and I soon got married and she was my real niece. Sometimes I think I married just so I could be a real aunt.
My day could be so bad, and I just pick her up and cuddle her and the world would seem so much better. One day we were sitting around and my ex called me by my full name. Leila’s mom was the first one to get it; she said your middle name is Evelyn? I was like yes… She said that’s Leila’s name too… It was so cute and after I married her uncle, we had two names alike and she thought that was the coolest. She was my happiness for many years. This girl is so smart, funny, and talented. She is not only beautiful; she is kind, sensitive, and loving. While I haven’t hugged her in four years now, I can still say she makes life better just knowing she is out there thriving. I can text her and everything seems better helps the fact I don’t get to see her. One day I hope things change and I am able to see her. Of course, she won’t be cuddling age anymore but to be in her presence and be able to hug and tell her how much she means to me. That is all I am waiting for.
Until I can hug her again, I live on the pictures I get sent by her mom, I occasionally get a snap or text that cheers me up to think she is thinking about me. My biggest fear is she would forget me and not remember how very much I loved her. I remember back to when her mom and I would go shopping at the outlets. I am not a big shopper; I never really had any money to shop nor did I like the act of shopping. But anytime it was suggested I would jump on it because I got to be a baby wrangler while mom shopped. Those days were so special. We would fill my memory up with photos. It was a way to remember each day down to the smallest moments.
Now talking about camera overload, I have so many pictures and videos. I had to take them off my phone about a year into not seeing them because all I would do is cry while watching video after video of the kids. Leila always seemed to be the one that was closest to me, the one hugging me or kissing me. She was my little Luv bug, for sure. I have shortened her name to the little bug. I guess one day it will have to be just bug. LOL, but in my heart, she will always be my little Luv bug.
Today she will become another year older and have another great year filled with accomplishments and success. Maybe some heartaches, after all, that is what being a teenager is. But I know she will always arrive on top because that is who she is. I hope she knows Aunt Evie is just a phone call, text, snap away ready to listen, ready to love, ready to be what she needs. I love you little Luv bug. Happy Birthday.