Have you ever missed someone so much, that sometimes you find yourself trying to not think about them because you miss them so much… but then you realize how much you are thinking of them by trying to NOT think of them? This would be the case for how I miss my niece Ashlee.
See, my parents were older than the average parent when they had me, and also included one more after me (but I do have older siblings) and so with that, it brought me to be an Aunt at a very young age. I was 8 or 9 when Ashlee was born, the first born granddaughter. She is the daughter of my older sister Brandy. She was adored pretty highly and me, being a child myself, even grew up to continue loving children (anyone who really knows me, knows me for my love of kids and their smiling faces); Ashlee and I ended up creating a bond between one another that is different from any of my other nieces and nephews (whom I do not love any less). I bonded with Ashlee because I was so young and grew up with her, we are only 8-9 years apart and we came up as friends it seems more than anything. Even when we didn’t live close and they lived in Nebraska or Arizona… no matter when I saw her next, I swear it was as if I had been with her every day since the day she was born. I cherished and valued the relationship I had with her as I grew up and throughout the years others had expressed how much they admired how close we were. We really did do a lot together.
Then, time passes and people grow older, lives begin to change and priorities begin to take a different shape. I moved to KS from CA back in the end of 2010. I spent one last great weekend with my sister and her family in Las Vegas at my other niece Brittni’s softball tournament; then the very next day from our return, I was on the road to KS to begin my life with my husband.
I have missed a lot of Ashlee’s big events… I have been a part of her life and have been in it, but I have only been able to be a part of one significant life event in her life, which was her 16th Birthday. I missed her 10th Birthday, her 13th, her 18th, her graduation and I have yet to still meet the boyfriend she is currently dating. I have ached that I have not been able to follow through with being there due to the distance, cost, time off, etc. She turned 21 this year… and after I finished my mother-in-law’s t-shirt blanket I had already been thinking of the next project. Before anything, I looked into tickets, gifts, etc. and what I could afford – I even ended up going to a local Hobby Lobby to try and give my creative side a boost because I seemed to become more and more depressed that I couldn’t ACTUALLY be there with her. As soon as I entered the fabric section in the store, they had the most PERFECT fabric that was part of their Valentines collection. Ashlee loves France/Paris and it had the Eiffel Tower, hearts, love, and it was very old age/antique/new age all together. I instantly knew that was the fabric… the rest just followed after.
I decided that because I could not be there for my nieces 21st Birthday, I had to make something memorable and give her a piece of me and my love so that I would feel closer to her because I knew she would always hold the blanket dear. We are both very sentimental in that manner. The design of how I wanted to do it took me longer than actually making it.
I miss Ashlee, and I will always miss her. I am grateful and thankful for being a part of her life and seeing her become the young woman that she is today. I am excited for the next 30 years with my niece and even more excited for when she has children of her own and the Aunt spoiling may begin all over again. She is a great niece, friend, sister, girlfriend and so much more.
P.S. She absolutely loved it!!!