Unexpected, desired invitations are one of the great joys of my life. They come rarely which makes them even sweeter when they arrive. Over the past two days my emotions have run very high because of such an invitation. A reestablished connection between my niece and me has me in a deep place of quiet gratitude.

For a long season, I have loved her from afar even though physical distance has never separated us. I am beginning to realize why we have waited to cohere. She very well may be new favorite thing, and she’s perfect to me.

Listening to her with my heart causes me to lose my breath. Our similarities are astounding and although I had an idea this might be true, I never truly understood. The overwhelming feeling of love for her brings tears to my eyes, not out of sadness, but of deep respect and grace. She is magical.

Our family is strong and bold. I never recall an argument. We have pacifistic hearts that yearn for the best in others. An invitation into someone’s life is so sacred, and should never be taken for granted. She reminds me of what is good in the world, her gentle, sweet soul.

In her home, there are many things I have given her. Her open display of my love to her rendered me speechless. And I realized that my love has always been with her, even when I didn’t know.

When she was little and I lived with my brother for a summer, she would scream my name down the hall because she didn’t want to go to bed. I don’t think that she ever knew that I sat on the other side of her door and cried. And I want her to know that I have always been on the other side of the door. She opened that door and warmly invited me in.

She is one of the best things in my life. She has already taught me so much, and all I did was teach her how to blow bubbles.


Painting by Kari Hinds