Every time I see my nieces and nephew my heart fills with love. The pure sight of them magically makes my face light up and turn a rainy day into pure sunshine. They fill my life with joy and appreciation.
Sometimes I am wondering, how those little human beings can steal such a huge part of my heart and love. How these little people made it to crawl their way into the circle of loved ones so easily.
Along with these thoughts, I am thinking about people we meet in our lives and how they affect us. There are people we know from day 1 – parents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents… Then there are people we meet along the way, starting with family friends, visiting our home, until we grow our own circle of relationships. The group of people then starts to change in batches. Kindergarten, school, university, work.. The number of people in ones life gets bigger and bigger with passing years. Some of those people stay. Most leave. Some will be remembered, some will leave a vague memory of a face or a name. Some of them will even represent a question mark on old photographs. People will be good to us, hurt us, leave us behind. Some will have a presence, even if they are not around. Some will remain a sad memory, some will always make us smile. Some of them will never be friends, some of them will be like family. And family might even not feel like family any longer.
Two months ago we celebrated my nephews first birthday and I was sitting at the table, looking at the 20+ guests, wondering about the circle of people in my nephew’s life. Most of the people were his parent’s friends. I was thinking how this will change over time. In just a few years, it will be a party full of children his age and their parents, until he will invite only his friends to his own apartment. He will have a full list of people he met along his way, carefully choosing the ones he can trust and can be himself with. He will find the one person he will be ready to spend the rest of his life with, creating his own stable circle of people, called family. And all will start again.
For now though, all he was interested in were the toys and his stuffed animals.. the people celebrating him were of less interest. Sure I had to be present and make a cake for him. His love for animals made the theme pretty easy to choose. I spent a few days making the lion (he will sure grow up with the strength of a lion) and had 1 1/2 days for the rest of the decoration and cake making. My sister and I spent the evening before the event, making a fondant zoo. The lion did not quite survive the transport – lost some hair along the way, but hey.. that’s life 😉
We placed the zoo on the cake, made some additional colorful decorations – like an arena for the lion – and decorated everything just in time before the guests arrived. My nephew recognized all the animals (at least the ones that make a sound like snake and elephant 😉 ) and seemed very happy seeing all his favorite characters.
And so he is starting his own journey through the many faces in his life. Thinking back I am thankful for all of those I met along my own. Not all of them have brought me joy, not all of them made me happy. Some hurt me badly, some left me broken, but luckily most of them left me with a smile and good memories. One thing I know for sure: no matter who I met and whether this person is still in my contacts or not, whether this person broke me or lifted me up, I learned, I got better, I got stronger. With every new face in my life I became who I am today, where I am today. Even those, who hurt me and did wrong to me, taught me the probably most valuable lesson; something somebody told me a long time ago: those people taught me who I don’t want to be. They made me stronger and a better person. So: Thank you!