All of my nieces are beautiful. All of my nieces are exceptionally bright and talented. All of my nieces are amazing and inspire me, but I think that even my two older nieces would agree that when it comes to originality, nobody holds a candle to my youngest niece, Gianna.
Gianna, aka Spencer, is like no other person I have ever met and I say that with the utmost respect and love. I will also say that at 50, and after decades of travel, I’ve met a lot of people. A lot.
I remember conversations with her when she was no more than six about possessing magical powers. I did my best to assure her that nobody could ever take them away and, clearly, she not only still has them, she has mastered them to her advantage.
One spring when she came to visit me with her mom and sister, they went off to an Easter Egg Hunt. Most of the other children were bundled up in parkas, jeans and probably sneakers. Gianna wore her warmth in layers of sweaters and very (read, verrry) long scarves over her full-length flamenco dancer dress. I mean, what else would you wear to such an event?
When she stayed with me for a week in New York City, just before her 12th birthday, I asked what she’d like to do, and she requested visits to Japanese toy stores and a shop that sold saris and shalwar kameez and other Indian clothes. When we met a friend for sushi, she preferred just the roe – she loves caviar – and, well, why not?
And, did I mention that she can purr like a cat? Seriously. Seriously purr! She even tried to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for that. I mean, as in they apparently came to her house and listened to her purr. In the end, they weren’t clever enough to include her, (who even knows what the rules are on purring?!) but I don’t know anyone who has even tried to get in that book and I find her attempt remarkable.
Gianna turns 20 this week and is in college studying all sorts of things, both creative and pragmatic, as one should. I don’t know exactly where her path will lead her but when she becomes famous, and I’m pretty certain she will, I will continue to be one of her biggest fans shouting out, “My niece – my magical niece. I knew her first!”
Happy Birthday, Gianna, I love you!