Sunday, August 19, 2007

My Niece Sophia: Two Years Old & Growing Up Fast

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Today my sister Shawn sent me some recent pictures of her daughter Sophie, and here she is, roughly 2 months shy of her third birthday.

Needless to say, I think this kid is nothing short of gorgeous; and needless to say, I love her like no other.

Frankly, her very existence amazes me. My sister Shawn & her husband Jim were married in the spring of 2000; his second marriage, her first. I know Shawn wanted a baby of her own, but I don't think she had a lot of faith it would happen 'this late in the game'. Jim had 2 grown children from a previous marriage, and so my sister set out making that her family.

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Jim, my sister Shawn & my beautiful niece Sophia

Without going into a lot of details about Shawn's married life, I'll never forget the night she called me to tell me she was near the end of her first trimester (of pregnancy). She had sworn Mom to secrecy, and God bless Mom, she never gave me a clue. (I really was shocked; just a few months earlier, Shawn had asked me to help her look into international adoptions.)

But what should've been a joyous time for Shawn was instead a stressful one. As her pregnancy continued, Mom's cancer advanced. Mom told me more than once "I pray I'm here long enough to see Shawn's baby." And on October 12, 2004--as Shawn was literally making arrangements from her hospital bed to have Mom moved into her & Jim's home, Sophia was born.

Mom was able to spend about 2 months knowing Sophia before she passed away. And for this small window of time, while so unfair to everyone involved, I'm grateful that Shawn (and Mom) had that, at least.

From as early as I can remember, Sophie has been a bubbly, sing-song chatterbox, anxious to crawl & even more so to run--she was so anxious to be on her feet, I think she would've skipped the walking part if she had a choice.

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This monkey was so anxious to climb those stairs on her own

She's always been fiercely independent too--if you help her do something, she would say "NO I DO IT" and climb back down & struggle to do it on her own. In fact, one of her first songs was "You can do it, you can do it--all by yourself!" (while my sister just shook her head in wonder.)

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December 2006 & growing up fast

The kid has been incredibly funny for as long as I've known her--when she barely knew 20 words, if you said "Oh Sophie, you're so pretty today..." she'd reply "NO--he's the sweetheart (pointing to her dad) and that's the mommy (pointing to Shawn) and I'M GORGEOUS!" while she looked at me seriously. Don't fool with this girl, she'll call you out on it!

I've always felt a special kinship with her; well, besides being her uncle I've always been close to Shawn (and knew how much she wanted a baby of her own, and I wanted it just as much for her). And when Sophie was born, from a certain angle mind you, I was told she resembled me a little! Of course, it goes further than that. I think she senses it too, we've never had any problem being close. She teases me even more than I do her--once I called her a hambone, and she accepted it gracefully. (But now she likes to remind me that while she may be a hambone, I'm a meatball.)

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Springtime 2007:  look at those eyes!

It's impossible to list everything I've seen for myself, let alone the countless stories Shawn relates to me of Sophia's adventures. This baby loves her family fiercely and is always anxious to "lend a hand". She sings loud and plays hard and owns a small library. She loves books and dolls and especially just being with other kids. I don't think there's much this kid is afraid of.

   

Here’s a video I’ve made called “My Niece Sophia (so far)” because I’m sure there’s bound to be more coming.  Smile

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