Brissa, Brandee and Brianna.
One of the many parts of my Saipan vacation was being able to spend so much time with my nieces: Brissa, Brandee and Brianna. Brianna was just a toddler when I left for college and the last time I visited, Brandee was just a baby. They have turned out into such wonderful young ladies. Plus, they were so generous with their hair supplies! Whenever I needed a headband, I had dozens to choose from. Here in Seattle, I’m the only one *with* hair, so that means I’m out of luck if I need anything other than a comb.
The girls immediately took to their cousin TJ and doted on him. If child labor laws weren’t so strict, I would hire them immediately to raise my son. Instead, I just paid them under the table. Just kidding! They were crumpled bar receipts with “IOU GIRL!” on the back.
Brandee and TJ practiced yoga together. It’s a way to soothe squirmy toddlers.
I loved squeezing my niece Brandee’s shoulders and saying, “Brandee, I’m so glad we’re the same size. I can borrow that pink Big Time Rush shirt you’re wearing, right?” And she would give me the confused but cute laugh like she knew I was making a joke but also worried if her Auntie Mona would be rifling through her Hannah Montana t-shirt collection. Because I did.
Brissa is a character. I love this girl’s independent spirit. I loved how my sister parents her, Bobbie is so careful not to sound prescriptive because of her daughter’s usual response: “I know,” or “Yeah, Sure.” Brissa is strong-willed, plus, she and I looked the same at the age of six, which means I am Future-Brissa and she is Mini-Mona. I would say, pointing to my skin, “Look at your face in 20 years, Brissa. AREN’T YOU HOPEFUL FOR YOUR FUTURE?!”
I remember when my niece Brianna was born. She was such a precocious baby who laughed hard and so easily gained attention by announcing she was in the room. She is so bright. She competes in speech and debate just as like her Auntie Mo and knows more about pop culture than I do (I’ve been dethroned!).
I remember how much I loved her as a toddler. We spent a lot of time cheesing for my late 90’s webcam.
The top picture is from 1999, the bottom one is 2012. We are still good-looking, and of course we would be, we’re family.