when a kid takes your guard down

C. and I curled up watching "Pitch Perfect" 

This week I am home on vacation in New England. I grew up here and most of my family and friends are here.  Every day I see people who I love. While I have enjoyed every single moment of this trip so far, it's the time that I recently spent with my niece, C., that I have enjoyed the most.  She 11 years-old and one of the funniest people I know. 

Because L. and I live on the west coast I don't get the opportunity to spend much 1:1 time with my nieces. I'm realizing on this trip what I have missed. C. graduated from Lower School last week and with her mom and dad working, we've been hanging out together. She's been a good travel buddy as I visit some of my favorite spots in Massachusetts. While we listen to Hits 1 (Sirius), she will out of blue announce that she likes bouncy castles. I ask her "C., what's the fascination with kids and bouncy castles?" She looked at me exasperated. "Because you can FALL!" Of course. 

Saturday morning at breakfast over french toast C. said " Auntie Taylor, this is logic. Unicorns can't fly. I can't fly. Therefore I am a unicorn." She looked pleased with herself. I couldn't argue with her. She makes a damn fine unicorn.

One night I was getting ready for a dinner. I couldn't decide what to wear. She was sitting on the couch eating mac & cheese and watching "Pitch Perfect" as I flew back and forth between the bathroom/bedroom and living room. I tried one outfit on. She looked up at me, taking a bite of her dinner. She shook her head. 

I said "What? No? You don't like this?"

She shook her head. "No,  just no."

I tried on three more outfits, different shirts, different shoes. I stood in front of her. She nodded slightly and said "Good. Now can I do your hair?"

Here's the thing about kids. They call you on your BS. I have a guard up. I know I do. I don't let it down very often but this 11 year-old girl who had to absolutely at that exact moment tell me that a group of unicorns is called a blessing, is the kind of thing you need in your life. A kid strips away your pretenses. They don't care about the amount of money you have or whether your car is the most expensive one in the school parking lot. They want to know "Are you listening to me? Do you think what I am saying is important?"

Last night as I was sitting on the couch talking with my sister-in-law, C., in her pajamas curled up on the couch next to me. She smelled clean like rain. She put a pillow on my lap and laid her head down. (That's the great thing about kids. They just assume that you want them there AND that you will stroke their hair.) As I talked with my sister-in-law, I soothed C.'s hair and watched her eyes close. Her guard was down and I felt my go down too. How can you not when there is a little soul who thinks you've hung the stars in the sky? And with our guards down we rested. Happy.