Meeting my 7-year-old niece for the first time

I’m a mother. A sister. A daughter. A sister-in-law. A cousin. A second cousin. A third cousin once removed. I’ve been a granddaughter and great-granddaughter.

But I’m not an aunt.

At least I wasn’t. Until just this weekend when my cousin Steve and his wife Colleen adopted their daughter Zinnia Louise-Yu. Even though I’m not technically an aunt, Steve and Colleen have graciously given me that title.

So now, I’m officially an aunt. Or, for Ms. Zinnia, or Yu Yu as she likes to be called, I’m Ayi Susan.

Last night we were lucky enough to have a Skype call with the new family.

The happy family: Colleen, Yu Yu and Steve

The happy family: Colleen, Yu Yu and Steve

We were told that Yu Yu loves cats and dogs and I was hoping mine would hang around long enough to say hello. Athena sat behind us during our short conversation. Yu Yu saw her immediately. “Maow!” (That’s Mandarin for cat. Which confirms my belief that cats are self-centered, because they say “cat” a lot–in Mandarin.)

Calvin stopped by briefly, walking across my laptop keyboard. By then, Yu Yu (like any other 7-year-old) had disappeared from the screen and was on to the next big thing.

Calvin from Life with Dogs and Cats isn't interested in the Skype conversation

Calvin stopped by while we talked with the new parents.

Before they said goodbye, my cousin and his new daughter sang a duet of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. And I was lucky enough to record it. (Note: she’s wearing her Mama’s glasses, because. Glasses. I think she and Calvin have a lot in common.)

When my kids were young, I wrote a second verse to the song:


Shine on, shine on bright-lit moon

Morning sun will be here soon

Hiding there behind the trees

Shining down on earth and seas

Shine on, shine on bright-lit moon

Morning sun will be here soon


I can’t wait to teach it to my niece.

12 Comments on "Meeting my 7-year-old niece for the first time"

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  1. Kitties Blue says:

    Love your second verse to Twinkle, Twinkle. And Yu-Yu is quite adorable. Thanks for sharing both. Ho, ho, ho, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

  2. da tabbies o trout towne says:

    congrats two you Susan !! Yu Yu is adorable ♥

  3. Aw, Yu Yu is so cute…we’re glad you got to meet her, Aunt Susan. 🙂

  4. Emma says:

    That is so awesome. We always hear about pet adoption, not humans!

  5. Ellen Pilch says:

    COngratulations to your cousin and his wife! And to you, being an Auntie is a great joy.

  6. Ruby says:

    OMD, that is just adorables!!!! She is the cutest shrunken peep EVERS!!!!
    CONGRATS to your family!!!!
    I thinks margaritas are in order…☺
    Ruby ♥

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