We are currently enjoying a few days away as part of our Spring holiday, staying in a caravan tucked up in the hills of the Dorset coast. Recently we have come to realise more and more that whenever we can, taking a few days out from the hustle and bustle and busyness of our everyday lives is needed, even essential. So here we are. Surrounded by beauty and peacefulness and time, in the palms of our hands. And while it’s lovely to have a break from meetings, appointments, projects, tasks, deadlines, emails, phone calls, housework and general everyday tasks, there is one thing I never want to get away from, because they mean the world to me and I love them with everything inside of me. My family. I am so blessed to have so many incredible people in my life – many true, valued and treasured friends and even more so, a wide, beautiful and extremely special family. The extent of how truly blessed I am by my whole family is a story for another time but every one of them completes me and I love them all from the very depths of my heart.
And so today, in the middle of our little holiday, my parents and our two beautiful nieces came to be with us. And I knew before they even arrived, we’d have a day filled with fun, smiles, laughter and love – as well as, most probably along the way, some stamping of feet and crocodile tears!
I love my nieces so very much. They are truly beautiful with big wide blue eyes, soft, creamy skin, wide smiles and laughs that can make anyone dissolve into giggles right alongside them with no idea why! But what I find myself being more and more blown away by is how different their personalities are and how they seem to be rapidly developing into little individual people all of their own. Sometimes I find myself looking at them and they’ll give me a huge beaming smile, or for no reason walk across the room and throw their arms around my neck to cuddle me, or they’ll suddenly come and climb into my lap and whisper in my ear, ‘I love you auntie Ab’ or we’ll be walking along the road and from nowhere a little hand will slip into mine. And every time they do one of those things, my heart will melt and overflow with waves of pure love. Sometimes I’m taken aback by how much I do love them and I think if I love my nieces to these depths, what will the intensity of my love be for my own children when they eventually arrive?
Today we took a ten minute walk to have lunch together in a rustic country pub just up the road from where we are staying. The walk there took us up a steep hill which meant that on the way back the children naturally felt the need to run carefree and abandoned down the hill as fast as they could. Which also meant they wanted us to run with them. I started off and then held back to watch them run all the way down to the bottom. Well the eldest one did, but the youngest slowed down half way after realising she was running a little too fast to be in control and from the top of the hill I could hear her begin to cry. As I carried on walking down I watched the eldest get to the bottom and turn around to see her sister crying, run back up the hill, grab her by the hand and then run with her to the bottom, by which time they were both giggling loudly. As I reached the bottom of the hill myself, they both ran up to me and the eldest with a huge smile on her face asked me, ‘Did you see us running down the hill auntie Abi?! Megan got a bit sad though so I went back and helped her!’
In that moment a little bit of me melted. She had seen a little need in her sister and unprompted, out of the compassion in her own little heart, had recognised the need for help and she’d provided it. I was so impressed with her. I suddenly realised how fast she is growing up and developing rather beautifully into a whole little person with her own thoughts and insights into the world around her and the ability to make her own decisions. And as I sit here writing this now, I’m looking forward to watching both of them develop, grow and reach their potentials in life. And being a part of that will be one of the biggest privileges ever.