Driving My Niece

When you’re a parent, you probably get used to the feeling, but when you’re an uncle and a seven-year-old chooses to ride with you, you become suddenly aware of the responsibility involved in handling a two-thousand pound vehicle at sixty miles an hour. When they fall immediately asleep, for some reason, the preciousness of their safety quadruples. On another day I might have felt anxious, but I was in a good mood and I felt confident and capable. I kept my speed about five miles under the limit.

We stopped for Chinese food and my niece opened her eyes. Since my sister splurged for lunch, it was my turn to buy. I passed the food off to my sister because my mom was driving and my sister and her other daughter planned to snack on the chicken on a stick appetizers. I don’t like to eat while driving so I said, “That’s okay, Tessa and I will wait to eat when we get home.” I hadn’t noticed she was walking toward the other car. I swear, without even breaking stride, she turned her head 180 degrees to stare back at me with a look that said: “I don’t know what you’re talking about, buddy. I’m riding with the open bag of food.”

And so she did. Freaking love that kid.

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