Wow, it’s hard for me to believe that another year has flown by since I posted last year’s birthday message to my niece Aubrey. All I can say is that she continues to be a joy; smart, beautiful, kind, talented…the whole package. So here’s last year’s message…with a couple of edits. Happy Birthday Aubrey!
Happy Birthday Aubrey!
Today is the anniversary of when I first became an Aunt. I held Aubrey when she was just a few hours old. Her skin was still translucent; she was warm and snuggly and tiny and smelled good and I’d never loved anyone so much in my life. My brother Barry, the newly minted Uncle, was no less impressed. Later in the day when he and I looked at her through the window in the nursery, in the middle of a sea of other babies (yep, they still did that then) he commented on how she was the most alert, a fine kicker and clearly the most beautiful. I could swear I saw a tear come down his face but I’m sure he just had something in his eye.
That was 25 years ago today; I cannot imagine how a quarter of a century could go by so quickly, but the years seem to fly by faster and faster.
I never could have imagined how much Aubrey would change my world, just like her brothers who came after her. Of course with her curly red hair, quick wit and hilarious self-deprecating humor she reminds me vaguely of someone I know. Only so much better.
When Aubrey was little, I taught her how to put her hands on her hips and roll her eyes, and as if that wasn’t enough, I showed her air “quotes” and instructed her on how to use them when she was talking to her Daddy. She took to it like a duck to water. I delivered her back to her parents and by the time I got home my message light was blinking like crazy. I remember CJ’s voice sputtering out of control “What did you do to my daughter? She’s just like you! You turned her into you!” as if that was a bad thing. It was a proud moment for me.
Since she was very small Aubrey has always been in the middle of a gaggle of giggling girls (say that fast three times!) She and her friend Samantha spent the weekend with us at the very height of the Spice Girls short-lived fame. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that by Sunday afternoon Dan and I both knew the words to all the songs on the CD, considering the girls had been playing it all weekend.
In fairness, Aubrey’s always been a good sport too. When we took her to Paris and Amsterdam for her Bat Mitzvah, she was already morphing into a pouty teenager. Her one word answer to everything was “what-ev-er.” At the airport we presented her with a big cardboard sign that said WHATEVER. The pictures are priceless. Aubrey in front of the Eiffel Tower, WHATEVER. Aubrey in front of the Louvre, WHATEVER. You get the idea. She went along with it, and the pictures were on display at her Bat Mitzvah. I’d love to post some of those pictures, but I love Aubrey more-and she’ll kill me.
UPDATE: I decided this year, at 26, that Aubrey couldn’t possibly kill her doddering old Aunt Jill for posting a photo. Of course, she’d probably be happiest if I shared this one:
Sleeping on the train from Paris to Amsterdam, unaware of our antics until we had the pictures developed (Yes, remember those days? Film!). Well, that would be Aubrey’s choice, but hello! This is my blog! I would love to share the whole album of adorable pics, but I will control myself and just post one more, of Aubrey and Uncle/Cousin Dan at the entrance to the Louvre:
As much as I enjoyed Aubrey as a child, what a pleasure it’s been to see her grow into an amazing young woman. She is smart, funny, beautiful and very accomplished. Not that I like to brag or anything, but she did earn her undergraduate degree summa cum laude and just completed her master’s degree at NYU. Aubrey is the first person in our family to graduate college with honors (the rest of us made it through, but we aren’t too b-r-i-t-e), and maybe we got a little out of control at her graduation, but hey, things happen.
Aubrey’s passion is teaching autistic children, and she has an amazing natural gift for her chosen profession. She is making the world better every day, and I could not be prouder. It is my joy and my privilege to be her Aunt.
I think I’ve earned the right to continue to call her my little sweet pea. Happy Happy Birthday Sweet Pea!!