Big blue eyes and white-blonde hair were all I could see of her at first, as the camera was aimed a little high. Adult-height, for two tall people, my Dad and Janice. Naomi was sitting on Janice’s lap. Soon Dad shifted the camera, and I could see that she has a lovely smile, somewhat like Cameron’s, but more I think from her dad’s side. Unfortunately the connection was awful – the video kept smearing and doing weird effects, and they mostly sounded like they were underwater. But sometimes they came through clearly.
I’ve seen pictures and a couple videos of her before, as I ‘snuck’ around on their computer. I know that at one point my lovely sister Tasha did NOT want me to see any photos of Naomi, nor to know anything about them, but that she later changed to a more “do what you will,” attitude. I’d briefly heard her voice and seen a glimpse of her at Christmas last year, when Janice and Cameron were iChatting with her. I couldn’t make myself hover at the door, knowing that the chat would be cut short should I make my presence known. What I really hope now is that Dad and Janice cleared this iChat session with her. Because she’s four, and she’ll talk about this for sure.
At first she was hesitant – happy to sit there on Grandma’s lap, but silent if I asked her anything. I asked about the plane trip, if it was long, and she held up two fingers. “Two airplanes,” Janice clarified. And she had thrown up on the first one. But with a bit of time she warmed up. We all, even Cameron, sang “Twinkle twinkle, little star,” together, and she sang a French song about a crocodile. She asked what I like to sing, so I did the first verse of The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night.
I told her that Cameron and I would be visiting with her Grandma and Grandpa, who are also Cameron’s Grandma and Grandpa, at Christmas time. Naomi looked a little sad, and asked if we would visit with them. She doesn’t need to know what’s going on, so of course I didn’t say, “No, your mommy wouldn’t let us,” and instead said that we can’t, but that I hope sometime we’ll be able to because I would love to see her. We also spared her confusion and grief by not referring to me as her mother’s sister, or her aunt. I was just “Melo,” and Cameron was just Cameron.
Overall she seemed happy and relaxed, comfortable with her loving Grandma and Grandpa.
This helped to make that little girl in France, my niece, a little bit more real to me. I’m so very glad that we could talk over the internet today … but still, it does also make me sad. But at least if we can do this now and then she might just grow up knowing that not only is there this person out there called, “Melo,” she is very much loved. Maybe, just maybe, should we ever meet this will help with building a relationship. I’ve been lucky enough to have a wonderful relationship with both of my aunts – both wonderful and amazing women – and I just wish that I could play a similar role in Naomi’s life at some point.
I don’t expect much in the near future, but I can still hope.