... here's one of my angels, my beautiful niece Christie who is sixteen years old today. It's a rare one of her smiling when she was 13, she preferred (and still prefers) to scowl but sometimes, we just MAKE her smile. She hates that. Anyway for the first six weeks I was in Sri Lanka, I would phone Christie and her brother Daniel every Sunday and each time the first thing they'd say was "when are you coming home?". I wasn't sure I could manage 3 months without seeing them. I remember they went to the States for 10 weeks and I really didn't enjoy that.
Christie is my only niece and we're very close. I was there when she was born. OK I was outside the room because it was one birthing partner at a time in that particular hospital. I stayed long enough to have my hands ripped off by her mother's talons and when I popped out to wipe off the blood, out she popped. She is the first of her generation in our family and that made her very precious to us.
I have many good stories about Christie but the day when I knew she was going to be a cool kid was when her primary 5 teacher announced a Hallowe'en party. They were all to dress up and my sister was very excited and came up with lots of ideas. Christie however (being an Aries) had ideas of her own and her idea was not to dress up at all. "You can't do that" gasped my sister. "Who can't?" snarled my angel. And she didn't. She refused on the basis that just because everyone else was doing it, didn't mean she had to follow them. I love that. Her mother got her own back by dressing up as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and turning up at the classroom with wee Dan, the straw man to prove to the class that some McLaughlins do know how to party! I can still see Christie's face now as she recalled the trauma.
Anyway, that's her sixteen now. I won't say it seems like only yesterday she was born because it doesn't. It seems like sixteen fantastic years have passed by and my angel is growing into an intelligent, switched on, beautiful young girl. I said 'woman' there but that scared me so we'll stick to girl. Happy Birthday gorgeous and see you in two weeks!!!