Tuesday, February 3, 2009


“She is not like an average four-year-old,” said the neighbor’s 12-year-old daughter when her mother asked if Nadia would like a Barbie doll for her birthday.

Nadia, my niece who looks just like me when I was little. Her mother is Argentine and her father, Vietnamese. Nadia –I love saying her name – has always been very mature for her age. She has to deal with the lack of love between her parents, watch her father walk off with another woman in his arms. She speaks Spanish, Vietnamese and English. Nadia watches Indy Foreign Movies with her mother, acts out funny characters from the movies, was taught by her mother to call her father “dork”.

Nadia, I love that little girl. I especially adore her. Not because she is the prettiest little thing, but more because her future will be so tough, because she has a father who cares more about his urges than about his four-year-old girl. Her face is of a sweet round innocent shape, but her eyes, they are so dark you can see the end of the world through them.

Nadia laughs and jokes like a little girl, but there are times when she speaks like an old woman. My poor, poor Nadia. So beautiful, yet destine to see ugliness around her. She sees me and she is happy. She sees her other cousins, aunts and uncles and she gets excited. She talks non-stop and plays games with her cousins. She gets lots of hugs and kisses from me – her auntie who tries to pour love in order to drown out the thought of her own father not loving her, to drown out the neediness of the assurance from a father’s love. She is beautiful how she radiates every time she smiles. She is beautiful how strands of her hair covers her face. She is beautiful how she is so small and thin that hugging her makes you want to hold her forever. “Nadia”, everyone loves calling her name.

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