At the age of fourteen, I fell in love with a little hazel-eyed girl. My first niece. In the past five years, I’ve fallen in love with newborn eyes three more times and let me tell you, that is the best feeling in the world. Probably only second to having your own child. Being an aunt is my favorite title to have; it is the most rewarding experience and from it I have learned so much. The most important thing it taught me was how to love. I never believed it when people said they would die for another person, until I became an aunt. Now I know that feeling all too well.
People say the best part of being an aunt (or uncle or grandparent) is getting the kids all riled up with candy and treats then sending them back to mom and dad. You don’t have to do deal with the misbehavior or discipline. And yeah, that’s great to an extent, but there are so many other beautiful benefits to it all.
You get to see how incredible a pregnancy is, from that first blurry sonogram to holding an innocent little infant with the cutest smushed up face. You get to brag about them to everyone. I have the cutest nieces and the most handsome nephew ever. I swear by it. And I probably annoy everyone around me with photos, videos, and stories about them, but I don’t care. I love getting the chance to talk about them.
You get to watch and be a part of all the milestones of their lives. I’ve witnessed two of them take their first steps. I’ve watched them grow and learn to talk. From hearing them mutter small phrases, to learning how to speak sentences. My name has gone from a little babble to them shouting it as they run into the house excited to see me.
You also get to watch them learn. They are little sponges, and they pick up on everything. Sure, them asking you “why” about everything can get annoying, but that’s how they learn. They are asking why because they generally don’t know why and you get to help them understand. You are helping them grow.
You get to love them and have them love you back. I love them all with my whole heart and nothing else could ever fill that place. They taught me what it really meant to love someone. I never understood until my niece was born how one could love another unconditionally, but now I do. And the best part of kids is that their hearts have so much room and to them it is just natural to love. Walking around with my nephew holding onto me, or my niece holding my hand is perfection to me. The way their little arms wrap around you for a hug is an indescribable feeling. Or the best yet, having an infant fall asleep on your chest, to hear their breathing, feel their heartbeat, and to provide them warmth…nothing else on this earth comes close to that feeling.
But all of these are second to my favorite thing about being an aunt; they are my motivation. I want to be someone who they look up to. I want to be a role model. A lot of what I do is for them. If one day I can look back on my life and have one of them say that I was an example for them, that will be enough for me. I was always taught to lead by example and that’s what I am trying to do. I want to make them proud, so for now I will work as hard as I can to do so.
Plus, I’m not one to let them get away with much. I pull them aside to give them candy and tell them secrets, but just because Mom and Dad aren’t around doesn’t mean they can get away with bad behavior. I am the aunt that will pull out the middle name when they are in trouble.
Being an aunt is so much more than spoiling them rotten and returning them back to their parents. It’s a life experience that can never be replaced by anything else. So much love has come into my life from this and nothing will ever come close to the impact this has had on my life. Jocelyn, Bennett, Adelina, and Emerson, thank you. Thank you for all you have taught me, and thank you for loving me like I have loved you.