Ila Rose is 4 years old. She is my niece, and she is the embodiment of excitement, fun, and happiness. Although she has only been on this earth a few short years, she seems to have more wisdom and oomph for life than most adults I have encountered in my thirty plus years of being alive.
She loves to dance. She will grab hold of your hands and twirl you around a living room like a macho Fred Astaire. She doesn’t ask you to dance, she tells you to dance, and you’d better be happy to oblige, because she will make you anyways. She will teach you new dance moves, and when you dip her, she will dip you right back.
She loves to sing. This past Christmas, as my entire family gathered round our solid oak dining room table, Ila said “Attention, hello! I’m going to sing a song for you!” With all eyes on her, she batted her eyes and sang, “You love me, we’re a happy family, with a great big hug and a kiss from me to you, won’t you say you love me too.” We all let out a collective “awww” as she smiled, knowing full well how much she just melted the hearts of her entire audience.
She loves costumes. On the car ride home after playing a bit of dress up at the Cleveland vintage shop “Flower Child”, she asked me if I was going to wear a costume over to my Dad’s house for a record listening party we were having the next day. I told her I didn’t bring any costumes with me, but that she should wear one. She then told me all about the pony costume she wore this past Halloween, and the next day at the record party, she excitedly put on the costume for all to see. Her cute little furry pony legs kicked and jumped as she danced to music like “Disco Duck” and “Turn on Your Heartlight”.
She loves photos. She loves being in photos, and she loves taking photos. She is down for photo shoots. She will pose silly or sweet, stick out her tongue or smile big. She will then ask to take pictures. I barely even have to tell her which button to push, and she is pointing the camera, setting up her shot, and snapping the memory. And the picture isn’t just some blurry image of the floor, it is an actual great picture! She seems to like taking portraits the best, and not just of people, but of stuffed animals too. And this skill for taking photos isn’t new. While back in Cleveland a year and a half ago for her third birthday, she took a flattering picture of me lying on the grass in her front yard. I used it as my facebook profile picture for a long time. She is a born artist.
She loves her friends. Whenever it is time to go visit my best friend Jessica’s two twin boys, who are 5 years old, and her 3 year old daughter, Ila gets so amped up. “I’m going to see my FRIENDS now??!” She can’t get her coat and shoes on fast enough to get over there to see them. And they love her too. They ask Jessica, “When is Ila getting here?!” She connects with them. As soon as she arrives at their house, they run over to give her giant hugs. She dives right into their world and runs around the house with them, laughing and screaming with unbridled joy. She never wants to leave her friends, and they never want her to leave them.
She has ambition. While Ila and my mom spent one afternoon last week playing at my mom’s house, I asked her some questions.
“Ila, do you want to be a singer when you grow up?”
“Ila, do you want to be a dancer when you grow up?”
“Ila, do you want to be a photographer when you grow up?”
I truly believe that even the sky is no limit for little Ila Rose. She is already making the world a better and brighter place. Put your sunglasses on people, because Ila Rose is shinier than the sun.