Nephew will turn half my age next month, oldest niece will be a teenager next spring – seems like just last year my sister announced her pregnancies with each. The other nieces turned a year old a couple weeks ago and soon after, started walking – it seems like just last month my brother sent an e-mail telling me I would be an aunt to twin girls. And soon enough, I will be saying “it seems like just yesterday” about the child my husband’s brother and sister-in-law are expecting later this year.
Because of the many years between instances of aunthood, reflections of how my relationship with the latest arrivals could be different and should be different and will be different have been floating through my brain lately. Here are just a few:
- I will enjoy being a kid again more with the little ones instead of reluctantly joining in with them. Perhaps I was still too close to childhood while being aunt to little ones the first time around to truly enjoy coloring, playing hairdresser, and jumping on beds… (I suppose I should explain that last one – I jumped on a bed alongside my nephew and oldest niece – in a hotel! – when they were nine and five.)
- Once they are old enough to read and understand, I will write monthly. They need to know the importance of handwritten letters, especially in this day and age of computers and the internet. The letters my siblings wrote me over the years while I remained at home after they departed are still so treasured a couple decades later. (And I may start soon enough with my sister’s children, though Facebook does allow me to tell them any stories of importance…and vice versa.)
- Just as my sister did for me more than once and just as I did one Christmas for my nephew and oldest niece when they were quite small, at some point the little ones will each receive a personalized gift from the heart instead of the pocketbook.
- I will never miss a birthday card or Christmas gift, no matter what.
- When I am far, I will remind them that I miss them very much. When I am near, I will remind them that I love them always and forever.
- And just as my sister told me often as I was growing up and growing into adulthood ten and a half years behind her, time does indeed fly. ”Before you know it, ‘you’ll be my age’, so you should enjoy your youth.” Don’t I know it…
(This is a submission for the next edition of Living Out Loud. The rough guidelines for “You won’t read this anywhere…” included telling our own personal rule(s) for our lives, or even just one aspect of our lives. I believe this fits the bill.)