I was only 17 when my niece was born and she was the first baby to be born into my family since I was born... so it was kind of a big deal. I was taking Algebra 2 in summer school as I hadn't bothered to show up to class much my junior year and therefore had to endure a full month of class in the summer. I remember begging my teacher to let me out just a little bit early so I could rush to the hospital where I was sure my niece would have already been born.
She didn't let me out early... but I didn't miss her birth. My poor sister was in labor for over 24 hours before her first daughter finally made her entrance into the world. No one would be rushing this kid. She was going to do things when she was good and ready.
I had so much fun with her that first year of her life. It was my senior year of high school and my mom watched her during the day so my sister could go to work, so I spent a lot of time baby sitting as well. I drove her around in my little Honda Civic, I took her to movies, to the park, heck - I even took her to school a couple of times.
I dropped her on the floor of the movie theater while watching Forrest Gump. She screamed so loud we had to rush out of the theater and I was sure I had damaged her. After a few minutes of big giant rolling tears she gave me that magical smile, though, and I knew she was fine.
In the past 14 years she's grown into her own person. She's learning about boys, about the world, what matters to her. She's a great cousin to my kids, letting them torture her and abuse her at will.
She's figured out how to drive her parents crazy... and I'm sure the worst isn't over. She's starting high school this year and it's going to be a whole new world to her. I'm hoping it's going to be a wonderful change for her.