When Love Takes Over

The weird thing about going on holiday to your home town is that feeling that time slows down as you're brought face to face with the pure, unadorned realities that you know and love. There are no fancy hotels. No new sights to see. No sunny shores (instead, a rather depressing gray and drizzly Swedish spring landscape). Just a familiar feeling of comfort and warmth, blended softly with the scent of cardamon coffee.

My sister's Stockholm home is a tiny parallel universe of cosiness, inhabited by her ten-month-old daughter Elise, the giant boxer Brutus, and of course Sofie's husband, Daniel, the hard-working family dad. All is ruled by the calm, collected demeanor of six-month-pregnant Sofie, whose organised way of running her home left me impressed. When I was 22, I was hardly able to look after myself, let alone a baby, a dog and a baby bump. My sister the domestic goddess. She met me wearing a stylish ulitity-inspired khaki coat, monochrome trousers and a black t-shirt with the words 'Protector. Lover. Mother' printed on. Nothing could have been more appropriate.

The last time I saw my niece Elise was at my wedding, when she was a tiny, delicate creature of barely a month. She's still tiny and delicate, but the fascinating thing is, her personality is starting to shine through. The first thing you notice about her are her huge, curious hazel eyes. Her continuous discovery of the little things around her is endearing, as is her tender friendship with gentle giant Brutus. Seeing the world through the eyes of a baby every once in a while is exactly the refreshing perspective we all need.

Yesterday was a mix of delicious fragrances (vanilla tea, cardamon coffee, vegan chocolate chip cookies), doggy kisses and baby cuddles. Long, lazy chats with Sofie topped off a day that was perfect in its simplicity. Out of all my labels - writer, editor, sister, wife, friend, activist - maybe 'aunt' is the one I should revisit more often.

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