My Niece and Her Intergalactic Battles

My niece likes Star Wars. And not just a bit, but a lot–her interest in the galaxy and machinery and all the other twisted elements borne out of an amazing writer’s proliferated imagination engulf her small frame by a ton.

My cousin–her mother–recently bought her a new toy, except that…it wasn’t really a toy. My niece received a set of 100 magnetic pieces in different colours, in standardized shapes of equilateral triangleelongated isosceles trianglelarge squaresmaller square. They’re tinted with magenta, blue, yellow, orange and green–and will soon be worn with my niece’s fumbling and tumbling about with them.

I went over for dinner just two days ago, a nice Saturday evening with a sky that was so gray and blank it hung like a slate over me. She lives in a nice condominium; the balconies are gorgeous, (but she, my five-year-old niece, is obviously, obviously much more breath-taking than the spectacular view of the city).

Before dinner, she took out the set of magnetic pieces, and proceeded to slam them down on the floor in a hurry. Her flurried actions caught my eye, so I knelt down and assembled some pieces myself.

I would actually like to interject a thank you to her. My five-year-old niece gave me a break from rapid typing up of documents; playing with magnetic pieces may not appeared to have appeal, or attraction (if you get the pun) towards a (cranky)(sleep-deprived) teenager like me, but a profound feeling settled deep into my bones, nestling themselves into the aching nooks of my body:

Peace. It had arrived, and what a blessing the feeling was! My stress and anxiety simply melded off as I sat there with my niece, assembling magnetic pieces together into weird figures, or buildings, or…whatever that she was instructing me to build.

Crash! We had built some sort of farm-house thing, and it had fallen to the ground, clattering around the glass coffee table and the nice play-mat my niece received from her teacher, as a gift for behaving well (perhaps she is the epitome of Things I Cannot Achieve, being a polite and ‘good’ schoolgirl from the start of my lifetime). She didn’t cry, nor did I, although the farm-house vaguely resembled a two-story, sleek, stylish apartment modelled after those cool apartments in Korean dramas, the modern pads for the better off.

🙂 Not the point.

Anyway, she picked up the magnetic pieces (hopefully she won’t have to do the same for her heart, next time;)) and embarked on a new construction project. I cooed What are you building, honey around five times before her intense gaze swung from the coloured pieces to my confused (possibly, pimpled) face and announced proudly, “It’s Darth Vader’s ship!”

Darth Vader’s ship…Did Darth Vader have a ship? What was his role again; who’s father was he? I had some brief recollection of Luke being a possible offspring of Darth Vader…was that even correct?

I decided to broach the subject. “Do you want to build the farm house again”, I tried to assert, but it was met with an unsatisfactory grunt as she gathered more pieces to build what she proclaimed was “Darth Vader’s chair” (honey, it looks like two crackers) and “Darth Vader’s screen” (can he take selfies with that, or does he make use of the screen to see if his boyfriend/girlfriend is cheating on him?)

My niece looked at me, and quite hesitantly, asked me if I’d watched Star Wars. 

“It’s a saga, right?”

“What’s a saga?”

“…Er, no?”

“Can we watch  Star Wars later? Mommy! Can we?


Regardless of my lack of knowledge about Star Wars, one of the famous’saga films’, and regardless of my lack of expertise in architecture (all my buildings ended up looking like mottled loaves of bread as compared to my niece’s creations), I know one thing: I want her to be fighting battles in her lifetime, yes, but I want these battles to be worthy of her time. I want her to emerge the victor in most, but lose, in some, so she is able to recover from the ‘rough and tough’ from one battle, yet come back fresh-faced for the next war.

My niece is five years old and standing a little over forty inches, and has a common condition called eczema. The skin around her ankles and the top of her wrists are a little crusty, and they get red and inflamed when she is exposed to certain things, like a type of fabric on her own couch.

 

While I understand that ezcema is a lifelong thing, a condition that lingers with one for more than a certain ‘period of puberty’, I hope she is able to build her own fleet of starships, conquer the Darth Vaders within herself and uproot characters stymieing a beautiful end to a well-fought saga.

 

Written in response to the Daily Post daily prompt ‘saga’

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