S. Morehead

S. Morehead

Shane Morehead, Entertainment Writer

At the time of my niece’s birth, I was thousands of miles away in Marysville, Washington. I was there with my mother, visiting my grandparents. We were planning on being at the hospital while my sister gave birth, but she went into labor weeks before her due date. My mom was upset, and I remember that I wasn’t. We all facetimed her after the birth, and I faked interest. I had been bitter throughout her pregnancy, mostly because I thought she had so much more to do in her life before she was tethered to another person. I had an embedded anger towards the child, but that changed a week later when I met her.

We had just arrived back at our house after a long flight home. It was midnight, and we were all ready for bed, but seeing our new family member was important. My sister got there before we did and was upstairs. My mom ran up there, while my brother and dad followed behind, almost wary of the situation. I stayed downstairs greeting the dogs, not wanting to bother. I went up later because I knew I’d have to eventually.

I held her carefully, and that’s when I started to love her. I saw her as what she was: a person. Elouise Rey Morris. She could barely move then and slept most of the day, but as the months went on, she was more active. Elouise developed a personality; she became more and more expressive. She points at things she wants, she waves at people she sees, and sometimes she speaks little bits. Her go-to greeting is “Hi baby,” she calls dogs “chee chees,” and my name is the best part: “Nane.”

I babysit constantly now, and I’ve learned so much. I know how to change a diaper, what her favorite foods are, what movies she likes to watch (“Moana” and “Thor: Ragnarok,” in case you were wondering), and I know how to make her smile. Elouise has been a part of so many warm feeling, sweet memories of mine, and I hope that I’m an equal part of her’s.