Ode to the Mini

I’ve been in Phoenix all week on business. And it’s been a nutty week.

I’m a daughter, a sister, a niece, a beloved auntie, and a friend. I’m a hobbyist photographer with an addiction to travel. I’m a graduate of culinary school. I’m a former small business owner as a graphic designer. And I’m the Director of Corporate Claims for a small third party administrator that services small insurance carriers, acting on their behalf as a claims department for auto and property losses.

Except that last statement isn’t exactly correct. At least not anymore. Why?

Because my life is weird.

We had senior management meetings in our Phoenix office (I live in California), so all of the VPs, the Chief Claim Officer (my boss), the SIU manager (we chase fraud), and myself all came in from our various locations around the company on Monday and merely met for dinner. By 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, I was an Associate Vice President.

Now for the weird part… My boss has a strange habit of promoting me to positions I didn’t apply for. This is the third such promotion. I hired into this company as a supervisor… then I was promoted to Program Manager without my permission, then to Director of Corporate Claims without so much as a by your leave, and now to an AVP position. For the love of Pete!

But after all of that broohaha and three consecutive days of 12-14 hours with these people, I’m happy to be sitting in the airport waiting for my flight home. I enjoy all of these peeps, but I’m introverted and 12-14 hours a day of these guys is a little more than I like!

So I activated the hotspot on my phone, flipped open my laptop to kill time, and saw the picture posted as my desktop background.

And smiled.

My brother, Ethan, and I look nothing alike. He’s 6’4″ and thin with brown hair and the spitting image of my maternal grandfather. I’m 5’6″ and not thin with blonde hair and the spitting image of my paternal great-grandmother. Except for our noses. We have the same noses. My youngest brother, Brian, and I look like Dad’s side of the family. Ethan and Julie, our sister, look like mom’s. But our noses got mixed up in the assembly line and Ethan and I match while Julie and Brian match. So how is it that everyone thinks Ethan’s daughter is my mini-me?

My folks flew out for a quick visit last month because I turned forty and Ethan’s youngest turned one two weeks to the day later. She’s my birthday buddy in April. Last year, my birthday celebration was Ethan’s wife and kids, my sister, and I. This year saw the same cast of characters plus my folks and two of my dearest friends, Chris and Joanne (they had a rare date and left their girls with their grands).

2015 Birthday with Baby GirlLast year, Baby Girl and I had a selfie shoot that brings me inordinate joy!

I had flipped my iPhone around so we could see ourselves as I squared us up for a photo and Baby Girl started making faces at herself. I started copying her. The result was nothing short of fantastic!

Remember, I’m copying her! NOT the other way around! This kid is hilarious!

I coupled six of the photos together and it’s in line to be matted and framed because it’s just too fun! I mean, look at her!

So at this year’s birthday doodah, she was sitting between her dad and I at the table. My sister spearheaded the planning for me and confirmed Red-O, my first choice in restaurants, was kid-friendly. It was pretty important the littles be at my birthday party, but that’s tricky when you’re dealing with fine dining. Red-O did a spectacular job in working with our family and the kids. And we had a ball.

2016 Birthday with Baby GirlDuring their visit, my dad was explaining to my niece that my great-grandpa called me Goldilocks as a child and compared her hair to mine. We decided to revisit last year’s photos with the two Goldilocks in an updated photo of antics and cuteness.

Tell me you can’t see the mischievous imp in her. The middle right photo is her gearing up to say, “Oook! Oook!”

Totally serious. This kid is a hoot ‘n a holler!

And all of these photos bring me great joy. She’s such a pistol that it’s always fun talking to her (she’s three, but has the verbal skills of a six-year-old).

I love being Auntie Bef to this kid!

Inspiration: Jubilant

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