Ever since seeing Father of the Bride II (one of my favorite movies—and yes, it makes me cry), I have wanted at least one daughter. In the providence of God, I am still enjoying the gift of singleness. Even so, God has granted me a foretaste of the pleasure of having a child.
I cannot adequately express the joy that Chloe has brought to my life. She is a tangible gift of grace if ever there was one. Heck, the doctors said my brother probably wouldn’t be able to have children because of all the chemotherapy he received before God healed him. That Chloe even exists is an expression of God’s grace.
If having a niece is this amazing, I’m thrilled about the prospect of (Lord willing) having a daughter. My brother’s ex-wife allows me an entire afternoon and evening with Chloe each and every week. She is under no obligation to do that, and yet for this period in time God has given me the privilege of being involved in the life of the most wonderful child in the world (a claim that, admittedly, might be disputed by a small handful of parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles).
Here are some of my favorite things about Chloe:
- The way she breaks into a disarming grin when I enter a room.
- Chloe loves snuggling and being held.
- Chloe loves being read to.
- Chloe loves movies.
- Chloe patiently watches the end credits to movies with me (I’ve trained her well).
- Chloe exhibits a unique sense of humility when receiving gifts and presents.
- Chloe’s inability to pronounce the letter “R” (which she’ll need to grow out of eventually; it won’t be cute forever). Examples: “Car” becomes the two-syllable “Cah-EE” and “Hamburger” becomes “HAM-buh-guh.”
- Lately, Chloe has been asking me to dance with her when she hears music playing.
- Sporadically, and without provocation, she will place her hands on my cheeks, stroke my face and say, “I love you very much, Uncle Cap.”
Kids do some amazingly funny things. Below are just a few examples of Chloe’s social antics:
Before leaving the apartment, my brother once asked Chloe, “Can I have a hug?” She said, “Um…maybe not.”
Chloe saw me use my Chap Stick and asked to have it. I gave it to her to use, which she thought meant it belonged to her. I informed her it still belonged to me and stuck it back in my pocket when she was done. She then asked, “Can I have some money?” I said no, she couldn’t have any money—she didn’t need any money. After a pause, her response was, “I can’t have anything?”
During one of our afternoons together, Chloe and I watched The Chronicles of Narnia. Later, Chloe was emphatically explaining to her grandmother (my mom) about the movie: how the wolves were grumpy and bad and how the white witch was bad. She enunciated her words by waving her arms and hopping around. She was really getting into it. Her grandmother said, “You’re like Grandma—you talk with your whole body.” Shaking her arms and jumping up and down, Chloe passionately stated, “No, I don’t!”
Chloe was playing with a few shakers on the dining room table: a small salt shaker and a large seasoned salt shaker. She was pretending the small shaker was a baby and the large shaker its mother. She held one in each hand and carried out the following conversation:
“Mamma, Mamma, hold me.”
“I can’t, I don’t have any arms.”
So, here’s to the world’s greatest niece—or, as I like to think of her, the daughter I haven’t had yet.
Just so everyone knows: I (Cap) wrote this post. Chloe did not hack into my blog and write a tribute to herself. Chloe doesn’t know my password. In fact, Chloe doesn’t know I have a blog. Actually, I’m pretty sure Chloe doesn’t even know what the Internet is.