When I was a teenager, I saw a post saying “be who you needed when you were younger”. The post reminded me of Nia, and so does this flower. I was 7 years old when I met Nia. Nia was born prematurely, so she stayed in the NICU for the first 5 months of her life. I couldn’t see Nia until she came home because I wasn’t her sister nor was I over 12 years old. I was upset because my aunt didn’t lie to the hospital and say I was Nia’s sister so I could see her sooner, but I eventually got over it. Lol.
My school bus ride to and from school was 90 minutes, so I used to ride another bus to Aunt Doris’s house after school because it was only a 30-minute ride. I was in the second grade when I met Nia. I got off of the bus and walked inside Aunt Doris’s house. Aunt Doris was standing awkwardly in the doorway; I thought I was in trouble or something. She moved over I and I saw Nia’s mom, Aunt Nadine, holding a small baby with a really, really big head. I jumped for joy.
Aunt Doris and Aunt Nadine pointed to the hand sanitizer on the counter and told me put some on my hands before I sat down to hold Nia. I ran to the bathroom and washed my hands instead. In school that day, we were introduced to hand sanitizer for the first time. The teachers explained to us how hand sanitizer kills germs without water. I was in the beginning stages of becoming a germaphobe at that time, so I was skeptical of this new liquid the teachers wanted us to use. Nia was a new baby; I didn’t wanna get her sick with any of my school germs. She deserved to be held with freshly washed hands, not with some gel with a strong alcohol aroma.
I was excited about Nia being here because I finally had another little girl around. Before Nia was born, I was the only girl hanging out with my 3 boy cousins. Everyone fell in love with Nia instantly; especially Aunt Elaine. Aunt Elaine played a huge role in Nia's life. One day I was at Aunt Doris’s playing with Nia. Aunt Doris was washing clothes and told me to watch Nia for a second. Nia did a #2. It was my time to shine and show everyone I was capable of changing a diaper. Nia was on the couch, but her diaper supplies were in the room. I didn’t wanna leave Nia on the couch, so instead of putting her on the floor while I walked away, I took her to the room with me to grab the diaper supplies. So young and foolish.
On my way back to the living room, I tripped over something and fell. I had my hand behind Nia’s head, but she hit the floor really, really, really hard. Nia used to hold her breath and then let out this overly dramatic cry that would drive me crazy. When I dropped her, she held her breath for what seemed like 5 minutes. Then, she let out the loudest cry I’ve ever heard. I was so afraid. I mean, she was crying so I knew she wasn’t dead, but I thought I might’ve given her brain damage or something. Aunt Doris and Aunt Elaine ran in asking what happened. Nia slept for sooooo long that day. I was so afraid; I thought Nia was gonna pass away in her sleep. Thankfully she didn’t. When Nia was 2 years old, I asked Aunt Nadine if she would be my godmother so Nia could be my sister. From that day forward, I began calling Nia my little sister.
I loved having a sister around. I had siblings on my dad’s side of the family, but he was all the way in Georgia, so I rarely saw him, my stepmom, or my siblings. Nia and I spent a lot of time together. I used to help her with her schoolwork, take her to school, braid her hair, and take hundreds of pictures of her. When I went to college, Nia was a preteen. I thought since I was away and Nia was growing older that she didn’t need me or care about my absence. I was wrong. I realized how much Nia looked up to me and valued me as her big sister; that made my heart smile.
Grandma Dawn, Aunt Doris, Nia, and I were hanging out one day. I was taking pictures of Nia when I noticed this beauty relaxing gracefully over the river. I noticed this flower stood alone instead of with her family members. The family members looked as if they were holding the flowers by their roots, making sure they wouldn’t fall into the water. All my life I’ve been supported by my family members; they’ve always made sure to catch me before I fell into hot water. But if I did fall into hot water, they were right there to dry me off once I got back up. Likewise, as a big sister to Nia, one of my responsibilities is to always support her and catch her before she falls into hot water. And if she happens to fall into hot water, I’ll be right there to catch her once she gets back up.
So, when I see this flower, I think of my strong foundation that got me to where I am today, and I think of the little girl with the enormously large head that never passes up an opportunity to get on my nerves. Being a big sister is more difficult that I thought. When Aunt Elaine passed away, I knew Nia was hurting, and I had absolutely no clue how to help her grieve in a healthy way. When Nia's Grandma Doris (my aunt, my grandma's twin) passed away; same thing. I may not be the most supportive sister or the perfect role model for Nia, but I’ve always been here to support her in the best way I can. As Nia continues to grow and flourish, I hope she is able to be fearless and stand firm, knowing she has a support system to catch her if she falls, and knowing she has a big sister that will go to the end of the Earth for her.
· Be fearless & stand firm.
How I Apply it to My Life:
· I go after everything I set my mind to. I know if I get knocked off my path, I have a strong support system to help me get back up.
· Monica – For You I Will
SLIDESHOW: Nia. Nia & Aunt Doris. Nia & Aunt Elaine. Me & the boys years before Nia was born.