Six years ago, on January the 28th, I found myself at a show choir competition in Alabama. As my friends and I sat down to watch the rest of the performances following our own, I noticed my mama running towards me out the left of my eye.
"Kaycee! Kaycee, we have a baby! We got a baby early!"
I turned to her, eyes wide open. My uncle and aunt were expecting their second baby in March. But it was January. We had a baby now?!
"What? What's going on?" I squeaked back.
"I don't know. She's so early!"
From that moment, it would take nearly a month before I ever got to hold that baby. But nowadays, she won't let me put her down fast enough. On January 28, 2011, my mini-me presented herself to the world.
Bella Eve, Belles, Baby Belle, Little Nugget, Silly- no matter what we call her, she makes us laugh harder than a majority of anything I've seen. But I can be honest when I say it didn't start out that way.
In the beginning, it was scary. Because she was so little, Belles spent a majority of her first weeks of life in the Macon hospital. But just like the spitfire we now know her to be, she fought it.
As the oldest grandchild, I had also remained the only girl for thirteen years. For thirteen years, it had been all about me. Even with the boys, it had been all about me. And now I got to share it with a stupid baby. *insert young teenage eye roll here*
I'm not sure if any of you have ever read the book, "Julius, the Baby of the World," but that very much defines the relationship Bella and I had when she was first born. In the children's book by Kevin Henkes (a personal favorite of mine), Lilly is going to be a big sister. In fact, "before Julius [is] born, Lilly [is] the best big sister in the world. She [gives] him things. She [tells] him secrets. And she [sings] lullabies to him every night. [Although], after Julius [is] born, it [is] a different story."
"'I am the queen,' said Lilly. 'And I hate Julius.'"
Put colloquially, Bella and I did not jive.
I did not like how cute she was, and I did not like how she needed everything.
However since those early years, I have had a change of heart. And for those who know me, they know how stubborn I can be. But I realized something, just as how Lilly realizes something in Henkes' book.
Every queen needs a princess.
Bella and I now do a majority of our activities together. At Halloween, she was the Toto to my Dorothy and was smitten. Sometimes when she's feeling particularly sassy, she tells me that I'm her favorite in the whole family, and "Nana, isn't Kaycee just the cutest thing you've ever seen?" Once, we were even mistaken as being mother and daughter. Bella thought that one was especially funny.
I've fed her, drove her, bathed her, clothed her, made her angry, made her laugh, made her jealous, bought her presents, danced with her, belted Adele's "Hello" with her, taught her in church, poked fun at her, brushed her hair, pulled her hair, turned her upside down, taken pictures with her, and shown her what it means to be so unconditionally loved.
Maybe the funny thing is- she's given me back just as much. If not twice over. Belles loves me even when I don't always love myself.
So here's to my mini-me having turned six.
Happy Birthday, Sweets.