Today my “baby” cousin turns 20 years old. This blows my mind!
I am amazed that my cousin—who always has felt like a little sister to me— is no longer a child and has not been for years. Harley is about to be a junior in college, but more than that, her creativity, intellect, and talent are well beyond her age. An artist, she seems to see the world as part song, part play, part cartoon. She finds the humor in everything; her imagination is extraordinary.
Her heart is so full of love and gratitude, I’m routinely humbled by her when I get to visit her in California. About 18 months ago, I was visiting when Harley got a “call-back” interview with an animation studio. She was elated! For a first-year student, a call-back was unexpected and prestigious. Her excitement was palpable, and I’m not sure I’d ever been more proud of anyone.
That same day, we had dinner on campus, at the California Institute of the Arts. Dinner at CalArts meant one thing: chicken tacos. Harley consumed her tacos with pure, unbridled joy! Every bite was a ritual to be performed with care and precision. It’s not as if she’d not had the tacos before or could not have them again. But she was appreciating that moment for all its delicious glory.
Harley commented to me about what a wonderful day it had been. Ever curious, I asked, “So Harley, what’s been the best day of your life?” Her response: “Today. And every day. I pretty much figure that as long as nothing bad happens, it’s an awesome day.”
My wish for my baby cousin is that she never loses that feeling. That every day for her is awesome—the best day of her life, since the last best day of her life.
Harley is a gift to the world and an invaluable gift to me. I love her more than I can say. Even more than chicken tacos.