I was going to write about the gorgeous weather. With a week of temps in the high 50s and 60s, the snow couldn’t possibly hang on, and the ice is fading fast. It seems that May showed up , first melted, then dried everything up in the north woods? It is very very odd, and too early, but still we can’t help but smile the spring smile.

Instead, I’m going to tell you about my beloved niece who visited this week (with her parents and mine (her grandparents).

Maria has huge brown eyes that soak in the world.

She has sturdy little athletic legs, that match her Mayan ancestors. I’m sure she’ll grow up with ties to Guatemala, because my sister and her partner are already promoting all of that. But she’s all ours. And we are crazy in love with her.

She’s inquisitive, and independent, and of course brilliant. She’s such a little peanut that she seems even more brilliant, because we forget that she’s almost 5 years old. She’s tough, but she also wore a tu-tu most of the week. She says stuff like—“I like that word— ‘startled’ —but you know what Sue-a (pronounced Sue-uh)? I don’t like the word zamboni any more. I used to like zamboni, but now, I just don’t.”

We began discussing the safety of the ice as the week went on, and pretty soon there was no flipping way she was going out there anymore. Probably a good choice: now there are a couple of Maria-sized holes, even though I think there is still a foot of ice out there. Well, there is a foot of rotten ice where there isn’t open water…where there aren’t spring holes, where it isn’t pulling away from the shore.

Her favorite place is outside. “Point my feet in the right direction, and I’ll go find Shelby and Daniel” This was literal. I had to point her feet.

She laughs at my jokes.Her parents try to get her to sit down at the table, when she is just the perfect size to stand on the bench, and put her hands on the table and jump a little bit during dinner, when conversation gets exciting. I said—”What if we all did that all the time?” And I got up on the bench, and my dad is always game for that, and pretty soon everybody stood on their chairs and started jumping. And oh—she thought it was so funny she kept remembering it all week. I like that in a kid.

Her high point of Tuscarora? Definitely Denali. Only she says “Denowli” .

We were on the rocks by Lake Superior last night—the kind of beachy flat rocks that make the North Shore. Maria got punchy, and wanted to hold my hand and run and run and run. It was hard, I had to focus on my footing because…because I’m old. But she held my hand and was reckless and laughing like a maniac, and she never wanted to quit. i thought, if only I had a hand to hold, I could run wildly like that. It was a nice night, the daylight savings sun was keeping us warm, plus the running running running. I don’t know what was so funny about it, but it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter that it has been unseasonably weirdly warm, it didn’t matter that there was a list of tasks somewhere, or even that we didn’t know how many more times we were going to run the whole length of cove we were in. We were just running, and she was a lunatic. It was refreshingly mindless.

One time she said “I am full of love and joy.”

And I’ve decided that is exactly what I want to be when I grow up

2 Responses

  1. Jane Austin says:

    thanks for these adorable stories and photos of sweet maria. she is blessed with such an amazing family. sometime i’d like you all to reenact the standing on table chairs and jumping. xo jane

  2. Anonymous says:

    You captured the essence of spring with your blog about this enchanting new family member. Thank you.