Today is Cousin Fiend's 10th Birthday, which I find hard to believe.
I first saw her an hour after she was born, when she was about the size of my two hands side by side. Now, I struggle to pick her up.
Fuss had spent the week delighting in our horrified reactions when he reminds us of how old she'll be.
When she was little and never slept and we all lived in town, the Wife and I would visit every week. We'd bring over dinner, or cook something up, I'd clean the kitchen, we'd hold her and generally try to give Auntie Burl a rest. As she grew, she always wanted to play games with me, or sit in the brown chair and read books.
I would always follow her lead, but wanted to join in the 'grown up' conversations.
Now, I can't recall a single thing we adults ever discussed but have indelible memories of her sitting in my lap in the brown chair, reading Maurice Sendak, chanting happy once, happy twice.... and having her howl
and laugh like a maniac.
Or her all time favorite game, which we played for years...
"Teeb, I know....you lie down on the bed, and I ROLL you!"
Which consisted entirely of me lying flat on the bed and her strenuously rolling me across its breadth like a log until I lodged against the wall and feigned at being stuck, which she called "Tuck." Then she'd 'rescue' me and we'd start the whole process over.
We still all get together about once a week, and these days I get plenty of run with the grownups. Fiend is older, with expanding horizons and multiplying interests. She's still delighted to see me but that hysterical edge is gone- I'm still special, but I'm not THE GREATEST THING EVER IN THE GALAXY.
Kids are fluid in a way adults aren't. How I feel about something right now is likely the same way I'll feel about it ten years from now, how Fuss feels about something right now may change entirely by tomorrow. Or, ten minutes from now.
I'm fortunate to have spent all that magic play time with her when that's what she wanted more than anything else on earth. And yeah, I'll still groan every time Fuss reminds me she's ten, but she's just as amazing a ten year old as she was a two year old, or five year old.
Anyway, we both still have that two year old inside us.
Happy Birthday, Fiend.