I had the chance to go back to Calgary for the weekend to celebrate a very special someone's 7th birthday. My niece, Ava Jordyn, turned 7 on January 8th and she celebrated her birthday this passed weekend with all of her loved ones. I haven't seen her in over 3 years. It's amazing and it fills my heart to know that she still remembers me. The excitement and reaction on her face when we walked into the community hall was priceless.
Since we don't live in Calgary anymore, it obviously has been tough knowing we've been missing out on all of the important childhood milestones she's gone through, even the smallest detail about her personality I've missed due to the inconsistency of seeing her. Having the chance to see her after so long and to be present with her during the time that we had felt unforgivably overwhelming. She has grown up into this little lady who speaks her mind, cracks jokes, and has such a sense of awareness that even though we are not always there, not always present, not always available - she still finds comfort knowing we're family.
The outpour of generosity Steph always shows us never goes unnoticed. The fact that she makes sure Ava knows who we are and manages to keep us in touch just goes to show how much of a bigger person she is as a parent. That building a foundation of love and support for her daughter is more important than holding it against her. Allowing us to spend the whole weekend with her was more than enough and I can't be anymore grateful.
I was able to capture a few snippet of memories with her as she turned 7. I truly believe that having that relationship with her now is more important because she will be able to remember these memories on her own. I told myself that moving forward I will be making a bigger effort for her. Life tends to get in the way and I lost track of the reason why I moved out to Calgary in the first place. Being back in Winnipeg, I realized that I have been surrounded by family, cousins, nieces and nephews, and with all of that, I had regretably put Ava in the back of my mind thinking that she's fine anyway without me. Turns out, it wasn't just for her, but it was also for my own sake and the relationship that I want to build with her. I want to be there for her and I want her to think of me when something good or bad happens, where she can turn to me if she ever needed too. I want to be the aunt that she can come visit during spring break or be that person she can call for advice. I hope moving forward I can live up to these goals and she can find comfort knowing that I'll always be there for her.
This trip was for her 7th birthday and I walked away with so much gratitude. Going into the new year with a clearer mind and better intention.
My Ava Darling,
You're growing up into such a beautiful, charasmatic, and outgoing human being. Even just for the short while, you filled the room with so much laughter. You've got this sense of humour and funny facial expressions that are engraved in our mind. With such an innocent and youthful laugh carried under a vivid and bright smile. But not only that. I can already see how creative you are, how you spend your time drawing or coloring while we're in the car or just waiting for our food to be served. I can only hope you continue to be inspired and draw to express your emotions. I hope that you continue to grow and stay youthful. That you don't actually carry a "stress braclet" when you grow up, and that you find love for fruits instead of hubba bubba. I love you as if you were my own and will always miss you just like you asked.
Until next time