I’m Catholic, German and Irish, but I’ve got the soul of a Greek Orthodox woman! I’m loud, I’m a big hugger, I have big hair, and I LOVE DANCING. I love eating meat. I love PEOPLE. Before I was sober, my shot of choice was Metaxa– I loved the reactions on people’s faces when they tried it the first time.
I stopped by the Greek Fest in Joliet tonight, to see my friend Catt- who was working.
I saw her son, Nico, who is two and will be turning three next month, running amuck and joined him. We were in a pavilion and she was working the bar. Her husband, Vic, was watching him.
Nico is the most friendly little child I’ve ever met. He’s got curly light brown hair and pale skin and bright blue eyes with killer lashes. He just exudes love. And that’s because he has two parents who are very close to their families, Greek and Italian. They have a strong marriage– they are best friends. They talk all day long. They are a team. Nico is always with his family, getting plenty of cuddles and attention and supervision.
And WOW, does Nico like to move around! I tried to take pictures but gave up because he moves so fast every picture I took is blurry. I decided to forget about pictures and just enjoy keeping up with him.
I tell you, playing with kids is the best exercise imaginable. I worked tonight and I was tired, I didn’t think I’d stay long. But once I saw Nico, all my energy returned. We were inseparable.
First, we just ran back and forth, racing and yelling with our arms up. Then, we tried Greek dancing. We danced together, and with a little girl and her mom. I picked him up, and we kind of slow danced– he held his right arm out and grabbed mine. I just followed him wherever he went, but made sure he was safe.
He’s so confident!!
But my favorite part was when we just went off together and hung out on the grass. Catt and Vic let us because they trust me. They know I would never let anything happen to him, and when he’s with me, he’s safe. We didn’t go far– I stayed where they could see us. He wanted to sit down. So I convinced him it’d be better to sit down in the grass– over by a tree. And he just followed my lead, and it was such a natural interaction.
I’m trying to write before I forget the best parts!
But we laid in the grass and looked at the sky. I raised one leg, he raised his. We made a game out of it. I put up both my legs, then he did. He left one up, I did the same thing. We were just imitating each other.
Then we sat up, and I picked him up and we looked at the tree. I showed him the leaves, and he reached out and touched them. And he knew that his shirt was blue, and I asked him what color mine was ? Green. He knew that he’s a guy, and I’m a girl. He knew about the sky.
I was just in awe.
And then we got up and I started just crawling forward. And I growled, and he growled. He followed next to me, and he kept up with me!
And he had this little yellow toy, a tiny little man. Maybe an astronaut? I’m not sure what he was, but I noticed he was gone. I think I had referred to the toy as his “guy,” earlier– he has a great, quick, memory.
“Where’s your guy?” I said. And it was dark, but we went through the grass, retracing our steps. “My guy!”
And it wasn’t long before we passed a few benches and there the toy was, sitting on a bench. Nico picked him up and took him with him in his tiny hand.
I was so happy he hadn’t lost his little toy.
I told him we had to go back because I was tired and had to leave.
“No!” he said. He looked sad.
My heart felt bigger than the moon!
I picked him up and took him back to his dad, Vic. Nico was saying goodbye to the girls– all the girls wanted a kiss from Nico. They were friends of Catt’s, people who know the family and who were also volunteering. He stood above them all, tall– he knew his power. He kissed them and they all said goodbye.
Catt was finished, and they walked with me as a family to the parking lot.
An older woman was driving a golf cart just ahead of us.
Nico is so smart– he ran and jumped on the back ledge. He wasn’t afraid. Catt was right behind him and laughed at his ingenuity. The woman was driving slow, of course.
Nico saw a shortcut to walking, and he took it!
Vic was looking around for a moment, “Where’s Nico?” We pointed and Vic turned and saw his son right there and was amused at his confidence.
The woman slowed down and stopped, and Nico climbed over to the seat. Catt encouraged him, waving and smiling. The woman driving was positively charmed.
Nico does that– he just enchants people with his energy, his happiness, his physical affection.
We reached my car and I said goodbye to them all with hugs. They asked Nico to give me a kiss, and I squatted down, offering my cheek. Not pressuring him.
But Nico went out of his WAY to kiss me on the lips! It just fit into my heart.
“That’s the most romantic thing that’s happened to me in months!” I said.
And it’s true.
That’s why children are so pure. They have no agenda. They just LOVE you. They accept you, they notice your feelings, they’re in tune with what’s around them. They express themselves with their whole bodies.
God bless that little boy. I don’t see him often, but when I do, he runs to me. As if I’m family! He remembers me. He singles me out, when so many people wanna play with him. He’s sad when I need to leave. He’s just so easy to be with– my little buddy.
Catt and I have always been sisters, since we met. She’s three years younger than me, but we are both silly and loud and have a crazed imagination. That’s what bonds us— making up silly things together– we call it “Vision.” It’s always fun when we get together, and she’s always easy to talk to. She never tells anything I tell her. She’s sentimental. We both have dark hair and eyes– more than any of my other friends, people have often asked if we’re sisters.
And we are! But I have to say, Nico is the best “Vision” she’s ever come up with.
And because of him, I’ll sleep wonderful tonight. Because I ran hard, laughed, WROTE and now I’m absolutely exhausted!