As it turns out, there aren't too many. The only one I can think of is age. Sure, fifteen years is a big difference, but the mentality isn't different at all.
Last night I watched my niece, Faith, despite my seemingly "adult" age paired with my long list of aspirations and life goals, our thrill for simple things in life is the exact same. She showed me her first Build-A-Bear animal and pulled me up the stairs to show me the computer game that went with it. I have many Build-A-Bear bears, but the computer game is something I'd never had. So I sat on her pink beanbag chair while she showed me her interactive world. I could almost see the wheels spinning in her mind, much like mine when I'm hard at work.
Then we jumped into her room where she pulled out her Nintendo DS and starting working her magic on the twisted levels of Bolt. She showed me how he jumped and kicked, laughing at her own little jokes the whole time. But then she suddenly threw down the Nintendo and jumped through the air yelling "Tickle time!!!" and started clawing my face, chest and legs. I laughed through the scratching and managed to flip her over and start tickling away. Jason and Sophia were downstairs getting ready for their date and I'm sure our giggles echoed in every room.
We must have heard someone coming up the stairs because we both snapped to attention, found the Nintendo and laid on our stomachs facing forward, pretending to be locked in on the game. Jason came in the room and asked us what we were doing...Faith and I just glanced over at each other, hair a mess, bed sheets all crumpled up, and we started laughing out loud. Not everything Daddy's Little Girl does with Aunt Lauren has to be shared with Daddy does it?
Faith batted her eyelashes and brushed some of her tickle-soiled hair from her face and asked Jason to get her past a level on Bolt. She then told him he and Mommy could stay out as long as they wanted cause we'd be playing a long time. So as soon as the door shut downstairs, Faith jumped up in the air and said "You're all mine now! Tickle fight!!" And away we went.
But then the tickle fight game morphed into something different, something a little challenging and scary for Faith. She climbed on my feet to fly in the air like a helicopter. She had a death grip around my hands which helped her overcome her fear of heights. "I won't let you fall sweetie, I promise" I told her, so she started to take her hands off for a photograph. Then suddenly she wrapped her arms around my legs and a look of fear took over. I grabbed her little face and told her she could trust her Aunt Lauren and that I wouldn't let anything bad happen to her. The smile creeped back on her face and she asked if I could crash the airplane onto her bed. So suddenly her fear of heights vanished and she was ready to fall from three feet in the air.
We must have played that game for a while because suddenly it was dinner time and we were both hungry. But Faith wanted to keep falling, asking to be tossed off my feet faster and faster, and I just wanted to see her keep laughing and facing her fears.
But we agreed it was probably time for dinner so we ran downstairs and I made some delicious microwaveable chicken nuggets for Faith and some oatmeal for myself. Sitting on the island we talked about how to make sure the food wasn't too hot and what we would do next. The new Scooby Doo movie was on the list so we popped it in and I did my best to figure out the sound system. About fifteen minutes later we were watching the movie, Faith had a freeze pop and was comfortably sitting on my stomach.
But after the ghosts and goblins were all gone, and the mystery was solved, Faith wanted to play again. So I cranked up the music and we started a dance party in the kitchen. Dancing by ourselves in the beginning I noticed she and I were spinning the same way, hands in the air, smiling and bopping along to the beat. I picked her up and we spun around the kitchen giggling and yelling. Faith wanted the music louder so I chased her into the living room and she jumped up on the couch so we could dance at eye level. I held her hands to make sure she didn't fall off but soon the couch dancing turned to couch bouncing and then we were spinning around and around again. Still wanting the music louder, we moved the dancing out onto the deck and Faith wanted me to teach her some dances. So we slowed danced a bit, and then an early 70's song came on so I showed her my best hippie dancing skills, locking hands and spinning in a circle while throwing our heads back.
"This is the best day ever Aunt Lauren!" rang through the air.
Once the bugs got to us we moved back inside and this time we danced while playing volleyball with a balloon. Ah, the never boring game of "DON'T LET IT HIT THE FLOOR!!" was played until Jason, Sophia & Ayven came back. The fiesta, as Faith called it, was in full motion, and we were both diving to the ground so as not to let the balloon fall.
Telling Sophia all the fun things we did, I realized that I wasn't just doing them because Faith wanted to. I helped come up with what we did too, and enjoyed them myself. Faith and I grew closer while I maintained my child-amusement. After Jason & Sophia wished me luck on another school year, I got into my car and blasted the radio, continuing the Fiest-Dance-Party all the way home.