It’s my nephew Deacon’s 6th birthday this week. I made him a simple little card this morning (using Kaisercraft’s “Technologic” range) which I will give to him later in the week.
Six! Already? How can that be? It seems like just yesterday I was being introduced to his tiny 3-hour old self and gazing at him in awe (he was a BEAUTIFUL baby). Now he’s a rough and tumble six-year-old with the attitude to match and a beautiful spirit. He is into Angry Birds, robots and magic tricks (although trying to keep him still for five minutes to learn one is a lesson in patience and strength of will). He loves to run and ride his bike and play lego. He is kind (most of the time) to his younger siblings and is well-mannered and sweet. He is super smart and constantly astounds us with his artistic abilities, an almost photogenic memory and an understanding of difficult concepts far beyond his years.
I am, of course, completely unbiased. I love my brother fiercely and, so too, his offspring. I could not love them more and they can do no wrong in my eyes (we shall see how this pans out when they are teenagers…). I can be having a terrible day, tired and miserable, and a couple of hours of babysitting them pushes everything back into perspective. They make me laugh and fill my heart up with love. Reading a bedtime story (or three, depending on how far they wrap me round their little fingers) is a joy. An interrupted, takes-longer-than-it-should joy, but a pleasure nevertheless. As a librarian, it makes me happy that they love books and, even more so, that they like me to read to them. There is nothing nicer than being a loved Auntie. My brother and his partner are amazing parents – they have been through a lot (relationship-wise) over the last few years but have always put the children first and done their best to keep them feeling secure and grounded and loved.
I love being an Auntie. I know some people feel sorry for those of us that can’t have children, but, for me, I think being an Auntie is just as special. I get to be the one they will come to when they can’t talk to their parents. I get to spoil them and love them and be silly with them. I can watch them grow up and don’t have to worry about the price of shoes or school uniforms or what subjects they will take at university. I get to see them at their best and be there for them at their worst, if they need me. I get to hand them back to their parents when they are being rambunctious and get to change just enough nappies for it to be a novelty and not seem like a never-ending task. I get cuddles and laughter and games and bedtime stories, without all the homework and tantrums and illnesses (although I have dealt with all three in small doses). I get to be an anchor in troubled waters and a warm hug when things aren’t going right. And, above all, I get to have a little person (or two, or three) love me and want to be around me just because I am me. That is worth more than all the money in the world.
So, to all the Awesome Aunts (and Uncles) out there, I say give yourselves a pat on the back and know that you are special and important. Give those little nieces and nephews of yours a hug for me and be super grateful that you get to be in their lives.