My sister gave birth on Cinco de Mayo, welcoming my parents first grandchild to the world on a day filled with fun and festivities. Rightfully so, it was Denvre’s birthday and my niece deserved all the fanfare. Four months later and we’re still celebrating up and down the big city.
My sister and I both live in New York City, and Brooklyn more specifically. I moved back to the east coast three years ago for this very moment, the chance to be close to family. Yes, California is only a three hour difference, but it’s hard to keep in touch and you miss moments like birthdays, holidays and the blossoming of a new baby. Luckily, I’m back and have a front row seat for the tantrums, teething and teachable moments.
Speaking of which, last week I babysat my niece for the first time in my apartment. Now, I’ve watched her plenty of times before but it’s always been in her home, on her turf. Young as she may be, she’s well aware of sights and sounds and Denvre knew something was off. For four hours, she screamed and cried. It sounded so loud that it reminded me of a fire alarm, the type that would scare off any intruder. Only I was stuck, and didn’t know what to do.
At first, I panicked at the thought that I was upsetting my niece. Then I worried about the neighbors, and could imagine the judgment as thick as the walls that separated us. At some point she fell asleep, and the reprieve was reassuring but Denvre wasn’t done. Ten minutes after waking up, and she was shouting as loud as her little lungs could roar. Waving the white flag of surrender, I gave up and asked, “Hello Denvre! What can I do for you?”
But instead of saying it, I sung it. Denvre stopped and stared. I sang some more and eventually I saw a smile. It was faint and I could tell she was fighting it, but I had her at hello. For the next 70 minutes, I sang to Denvre without missing a beat. Maybe it’s me, but the mistake I made was not asking her what she wanted. As soon as I did, she answered me with silence.
It was the sweetest sound I’ve heard in a long time. Uncle Mike is learning to listen, thanks to a lesson from Denvre.
Michael Peggs is the founder of Marccx Media, a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO and Content Marketing. Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships. He is also a blogger and podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy podcast You University – The Personal Branding Podcast.