My oldest niece, born when I had just turned 8. Yes, I said 8. She's closer in age to me than both my siblings, and consequently, more like a sister than a niece. ( What do you mean you're pregnant?!? I thought that couldn't happen anymore!! My brother calls me a mistake, and my mother *lovingly* corrects him and calls me her favorite mistake. Don't worry, none of it is mean, all in the best fun.)
I learned how to change diapers and care for kids with Prada. As a baby, the only way to keep her from crying was to bounce her up and down to Garth Brooks. It had to be Garth. Nothing else would do. And, oh God, the BURN in your arms.
For the longest time, she was very shy, and would cry anytime she had to leave her parents. I don't exactly know when that changed, but suddenly I noticed that she was hilarious. She might still be quiet, but that's because she is making this running commentary under her breath that leaves you in stitches. Her dad, PD, is noted for being a comedian, but even he stares at her in shock. The two of them together are like comedy central.
Prada is beautiful. I know I am biased, but she is gorgeous. To top that off, she has an impeccable sense of style. If I had all the money in the world, I would send her to town with an unlimited credit card and tell her to pick out clothes for me. I have no doubt she would excell. When she was about seven or eight, I took her shopping to pick out my prom dress. She picked out the winner. I was only too pleased to return the favor a few years later.
Prada loves kids--she babysits all the time, and has all kinds of certifications for it. She really enjoys babysitting the special needs kids, and I thik she has teacher tendencies, like her mom and my dad.
Prada is the reason I have texting capability on my cell phone, and is most certainly the reason why I now have a full keyboard. We're facebook friends too. Go figure. In some ways, I am fairly sure that having her in my life (as well as the other nieces and nephews) keeps me very aware of all the latest trends and tendencies.
I can't really describe what she means to me, only what she is like. She's a niece, she's a sister, she's a friend. She was a bridesmaid for me, and someone I grew up with. She cried when I got engaged, because it meant things were changing, and she and I were both growing up. I told her it would never change things with us, just that she got another uncle and some more cousins eventually, and at that time, Jekyll the dog.
Next time I see her, I'll tell her that when her mother got engaged, I cried and locked myself in the bathroom.
Okay, fine, you can email me at graceandpressure [at] yahoo [dot] com. Don't all flood me with emails at once, you know. If you're emailing about craniosynostosis, put it in the subject, and I'll respond quicker. Deal? Deal.