“We’ve had bad luck with children; they’ve all grown up.” – Christopher Morley
When I was a child, I remember hearing folks say kids grew up too quickly.
When I was a child, it seemed I would never grow up.
When my niece was born, five weeks premature, first I prayed she’d gain the pound or two required for her to be released from the hospital.
Then I wished she would not grow up too quickly.
But the years have swiftly sailed by since Bailey Elizabeth Cook spent her first week or so of life in that Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Two days ago, on Nov. 6, the blue-eyed wonder of a child turned 12. And I am perplexed by the velocity of time’s passage.
The first years of Bailey’s life her mother – my sister – must have tired quickly of hearing all who gazed upon her daughter speak of how she looked just like me. I, on the other hand, nearly burst with pride and pleasure.
And, oh, how that little girl loved her Aunt Lee Lee.
One early morning when Bailey was about 2, I was in the bathroom getting ready for work. The doorknob began to turn back and forth. Then I heard my sister’s voice from the kitchen.
“Bailey, give your Aunt Lee Lee some privacy.”
The doorknob stilled. A huge sigh was followed by the sound of Bailey’s little body sliding into a seated position outside the door.
And then the words I’ll forever hold close: “But I love Lee Lee too much.”
One good lesson I learned from my niece is to keep on singing through my troubles.
Before my sister and her family moved to Huntsville, Ala., my parents were having dinner with them one night. Again, Bailey was 2, and she got into trouble at the table.
My sister sent her daughter to time-out, which was a stool by the piano. Bailey was to sit there, facing the wall until her mama released her.
As Bailey weathered her punishment, those at the dinner table resumed eating. Suddenly from the stool in the den came Bailey’s voice, quiet but strong, singing, “Oh, when the Saints come marching in; Oh, when the Saints come marching in …”
Who could stay upset with a singing child? And what a way to get through the time-outs of life.
Even though these days she’s beginning to act more like an oncoming teenager, Bailey’s still Bailey.
With a heart the size of Texas, she gets angry at injustices in the world.
No doubt, she learned a lot about being a good human being from her parents. But some of that, I believe, is just part of the amazing person Bailey is.
Seems like only yesterday she was a toddler; now she’s nearly a teen.
Happy birthday, Bailey Peeps.
I love you too much.
Contact Leslie Criss at firstname.lastname@example.org or (662) 678-1584.
Leslie Criss/NEMS Daily Journal