Some things are so important that it doesn't matter what is going on. Stuff just needs to be put aside and the important thing takes priority.
Despite my devotion to my job, the fulfillment I find in various activities, the absolute joy I take in being with my friends, even the reluctant satisfaction I find in sitting down and wrestling with a particularly grappling assignment, all these things take a back seat when family calls.
I am so glad that I took the twelve hours and went home for Mini J's second birthday.
She is a sweet little girl, who really cares about the people she knows. My sister-in-law told me this story - sometime earlier in the week, Mom, Big J, his wife and Mini J were all in town and happened to meet in the grocery store. They talked for a few moments, and kind-of shopped together. Then my mom drifted off in a different direction, and no one noticed. A moment or so later, Big J said, "I guess we lost Grandma." Mini J was horrified and took off running, looking for Grandma. She was seriously worried that Grandma was lost.
And for a girl who doesn't say anything except "oh, oh!", she sure can communicate. She sends a very clear message with a pointed finger and a frown, I tell you. Her smile lights up the world, mostly because I so rarely see it (she's afraid of me, doesn't know me well).
Regardless, I take my duties as auntie very seriously, and I purchased the perfect gifts: Band in a Box, and Beginner Band Set. Makes lots of noise and doesn't require batteries. Guaranteed to drive parents crazy. And I wasn't even trying on the driving-parents-crazy part. I just wanted a well-made, non-gender specific toy that encourages creativity. Damn, I'm good at this. (Note: The xylophone has a full scale, so I banged out "Three Blind Mice," and Mini J rocked to the beat. I wish I had video of that.)