People ask what it’s like to have a niece who’s older than me. I just shrug. I mean, most of the time I don’t think about it. Sometimes Kerri’ll try bossing me around cuz she’s older. I hate that, cuz it doesn’t work if I remind her that I’m the aunt and she’s the niece. Makes it kinda hard to command respect. I mean, how do you get your niece to call you Auntie Emily when she’s older than you and three inches taller? Yeah, I’m younger and small for my age. Ugh. Double whammy.
We’ve been best friends for as long as I can remember. Even when she didn’t live down the street from us it seemed like we were always together. We did everything together… even have baby brothers. She says I’m a copycat cuz when Ryan came along a few months after her fourth birthday, my own baby brother was born just four months later! Which means Josh was an uncle to his best bud before he was born too! Hmmm… I wonder if there’s a place in Guinness Book of Records for us!
Mom used to say I was a handful when I was little, but get Kerri and me together and watch out world! She just rolls her eyes when I ask her what she means by that. But really, doesn’t every little girl borrow her mom’s lipstick before she’s old enough to colour inside the lines? Yeah, we probably shouldn’t have cut each other’s hair on the same day, but we were quite proud of those cherry red lipstick hearts we drew for Mom all over the mirror and dresser and wall! And doesn’t every little kid try to give the puppies a bath in their mother’s bath oil? We thought we were doing great by getting all five of the squirmy little guys in Mom’s bathtub at one time. It wasn’t our fault they all got away and shook themselves off in every room in the house before we got the oil and shampoo rinsed off them!
Okay, maybe we were brats. But things are different now. We aren’t little kids any more. Kerri’ll be 15 this summer, and I’m turning 14 next week. And Kerri is moving away. Far away. Not just an hour or two away, but across the country. There’s an art school there that Mom went to when she was young. Some of the same teachers are there now, and one of them is famous for some special technique in painting. Kerri is dying to go there, and both Mom and Tammy think she should. So when Alan’s boss gave him a chance at opening a new office down east, he jumped at the chance.
I’m glad for Kerri. Really I am. It’ll be so cool for her to learn from the best art teachers around. She won’t even have to wait till high school grad to start taking lessons. Private lessons are available.
But man am I gonna to miss her! It’s not the end of the world, says Mom. You can always chat and email. Yeah, right! It’s not the same at all. How can you colour each other’s hair over email? And how can you cry on someone’s shoulder in a chat? At least I know Mom knows how I feel. She’s going to miss them all something awful. She says now she knows how Grandma and Grandpa felt when she got married and moved so far away from them.
Seems kinda funny. At least I can laugh through my tears a little when I think that maybe those cherry red lipstick hearts were good for something after all.
© Willena Flewelling