Living with my niece is a strange kind of experience. I have been witnessing her grow up as if she were my own child. I heard her first word (Duck!), my name was the second one she learned, I saw the beginning of her crawls and her first wobbly stand. And now we are here. At two years old she is translating Danish for me, giving me butterfly kisses and listening to my heart beat with her play stethoscope. She wakes me up in the morning and gives me kisses before bed.
But she is not my own child, she is my niece, which means when I decide to return to the states, like I am doing now, I can't take her with me. I won't be able to see her every day, to have her tell me about school and the baby in mor's belly. I'll return to talking to her once a week on skype, hoping that she can calm down for just five minutes in order to wave hello through the computer screen. I can't help but worry that our special little bond will fade when I move away.
I know I am making the right decision, but it breaks my heart to leave that little girl. The other day while playing on the floor with wooden food and plastic tea cups I squeezed her and said "I love you more than anything in the world, did you know that?" But it wasn't until after I had said it that I even knew how true it was. This two year old, blonde hair, blue eyed, absolutely crazy girl had become my life.
Will I be ok living 5,000 miles away from her?