My niece is turning eight years old soon. She's getting so big! I first met her when she was just a baby (duh), and now she is this big girl. And like all people in my family, she is eccentric. Oh, her quirks started showing early. And her imagination is huge! I remember that at one time, she was terrified to go outside at night, and she urgently hushed anyone who went outside while it was dark and started to speak. After a little digging, we found that she had made up a story for herself, and this story had grown into a real fear. She told us that the owls liked to capture people when they went outside at night, and they found you by the noise that you made. And then they would fly you off to their pink castle, and never let you come home again. She was terrified of getting taken to the pink castle! Of course, this is a family joke now, and she no longer fears the pink castle, but what an imagination! My sister and I laughed so hard at this fear (of course, not while she was telling us, that would have been mean.)
To this day, my niece's quirkiness still amuses. Her favorite TV character is Gollum, and she is terrified of Honey-Boo-Boo. She loves the movie Ghostbusters, and she thought that Life of Pi was hilarious. No one really knows what is going on in that head of hers, but we all know that she marches to her own drum. She gets it honest, is all I can say.
My niece has this big laugh, a deep, from-the-belly guffaw that makes everyone else around her laugh. She gets this laugh from my Grandpa, but my Grandpa's laugh sounds so funny coming from this little girl. She's an aggressive hugger with a megawatt smile. She doesn't understand the meaning of stranger-danger. Literally, she doesn't get that concept. Sometimes in the area that I live, you will sometimes get men who come up to stopped car's windows and ask for money. Now, I feel really bad for the homeless, but this is dangerous. There are such things as car-jackers. So the windows go up and the doors get locked, unless my niece is in the car. And then she is trying to open up her window and talk to them, no matter how shady they look, while her mother and I frantically tell her to knock it off. Which breaks her heart. And she sobs, "I just wanted to talk to him!" A very friendly child, which gives us heart attacks.
She also has a unique way of looking at things. My mother and I took a summer vacation to Mount Rainier, and my sister couldn't go, but my mom decided to take my niece with us. During that time, the girls (my daughter and niece) took a Junior Ranger class, and they were studying owls (this is waaay after the owl/castle incident, so this was not the trigger) by looking at pictures, which my niece didn't like because of the owls' big eyes, and looking through owl pellets. Which are really gross, and full of the undigested bones of their prey. When the girls were done, and the Ranger who was in charge of the class asked the girls to share something that they learned my niece disgustedly replied, "Eyes and bones." Her voice was so disgusted and so mournful that she got laughter from everyone who heard her reply.
My niece is truly a one-of-a-kind girl, and from Auntie to her one-of-a-kind niece, Happy 8th Birthday!