Did you know that July 26th is National Aunt (and uncle) Day? I am personally shocked that I did not know this! I LOVE a reason to celebrate and its only fitting that such an important role in life be recognized. As a proud auntie to many little ones, I can easily say that the job the best! Sure, there are important responsibilities, like keeping those little people alive, following their parent’s rules and even caring for them- but, its the best of both worlds- both rewarding and fun. Oh!- and you get to sleep peacefully at night… That’s a major selling point.
These little humans often think you are the coolest person around. My favorite little friends don’t even know I’m an adult- I am that level of cool. I reap the benefits of being someone that produces ear to ear smiles and gives all the hugs when the when their little world isn’t going quite right. Best of all is the perfect mix of best friend and protector.
Back in my retail management days, I used to buy all the onesies that said “best aunt ever” or “my aunt is my bff”. (Secret: I still do!) The idea of being an aunt was so exciting to me. Being able to love and care for someone else’s children has always come naturally to me. I spent many summers growing up as a preschool bible camp counselor. I loved watching them learn and laugh. Since you cannot will this into yourself, I patiently waited and dreamed of what it would be like. All my expectations could not have prepared me for the amount of love that would soon fill my life and heart.
The day it happened.
The day I found out I was going to be an aunt for the first time, I was aboard a cruise with my family. Prior to the cruise, I had been stood up on Valentine’s Day just days before and was epically grouchy. I should have been wise to the way my mother spent the first half of the trip doting on my sister but I was too moody to care. I would later find out that she was in the early stages of her pregnancy. By mid week, I was probably miserable to be around- in fact, I know I was. We had sat down to dinner and the waiter had served me a plate with a perfectly wrapped Valentine’s Day gift and at this point- I was so undeserving given my attitude. In years past, my sister and brother in law treated me to many “galentine’s day” gifts. Assuming they had made another thoughtful gesture after a not so great Hallmark holiday, I began to cry. The real waterworks started when I opened the gift and read a baby bib that said “If you think I’m cute, you should see my aunt”. I ugly cried.
The moment I had been waiting years for was finally here. In the months that followed, I spent a lot of time with my sister and her soon to be baby. I would lovingly refer to the baby as my future best friend. I was there every step of the way- literally. I went everywhere and did all the things with my sister during those 9 months. I got to be part of the nursery planning and even hosted her baby shower. When Mother’s Day arrived that year, I was honored with being named godmother and by October, I was holding her in my arms. She and I have shared a special bond ever since. I live for our special Auntie dates.
In the years to come, I’ve witnessed more of my siblings, cousins and friends enter parenthood. I’ve enjoyed countless baby snuggles along the way. I’ve even changed many diapers and dirty clothes- been spit on and peed on. Last month, after an ice cream date, someone wanted to settle their upset tummy while snuggled on my lap- you guys, I ended up with strawberry flavored vomit ALL over me! Besides the sometimes messy, sometimes challenging moments, I was meant for this.
One of the things I have cherished most about living close or with family is the special bond I share as an aunt. I got to be there for many of the firsts. I earned my proudest title: “auntie” or “aunta”. Dropping your name at the end feels like a whole new status- I am the Auntie. Auntie loves to spoil and treat and is known best for it. I’ve been to all the school shows, dance recitals and hockey practices. I’ve played pretend, finger painted, read all the books, tucked them in to bed and even stepped in when mommy and daddy weren’t there. The truth is: I am always there and it’s an effortless kind of love. The time goes by so quickly! I often talk about them as if they were my own. In a lot of ways they are. Each of these pictures were taken the first time I met my nieces and nephew on the days they were born. Most days I can’t wait to see who these 3 will become but my heart misses the gentle moments we must leave behind. In the mean time, I’ll steal all the hugs and kisses I can and will keep being: the Best Auntie Ever.