Twenty eight, almost twenty nine(omg!) years ago, I was born. I was born a baby girl, a daughter, a sister and an Aunt. Ok, so if you want to get all technical, I wasn’t really born an Aunt. I became an Aunt at the age of 2 years and about 2 months, though so I honestly can’t remember a time that I wasn’t one. I remember holding my first niece and being so excited cause I just LOVED babies. Getting to hold one was for me like YOU getting a brand new car or diamond ring. I thought it was the coolest thing ever and although, I can’t say I vividly remember my words, I can see in my mind being told this baby was my niece and me pointing and smiling while saying, “Niece! Niece!” This wasn’t one of my baby dolls or a picture. This was MY niece.
As the years have passed, I look at my role as an Aunt as the most awesome gift ever. I know people who are Mommies and they always say they never realized how strong love could be until they saw their baby for the first time. Well, I haven’t yet become a Mommy so I don’t have that experience to compare to. I can see and hear the love in a Mommy’s voice and the way she treats her child, though and I can honestly say, in my opinion, I feel my love for my nieces and nephews is the closest possible thing I know right now next to what I can only imagine being a mother to be.
And I know some mothers may fight me on my feelings and say I have no idea, and I can’t completely disagree because I DON’T have a child. Regardless, I DO know what love is. I have love for my parents and love for my siblings and love for my husband, all different in some ways, but all strong. I also have love for my nieces and nephews. I know it’s cliche to say “I would jump in front of a bullet for someone” and you could argue that no one really knows what they would do until put in that situation, but I WOULD jump in front of a bullet for ALL of my nieces and nephews. And I will fight anyone tooth and nail that wants to argue with me there.
I realize not all Aunt and Niece/nephew relationships are as strong as what I feel. No offense to anyone in my family reading this, but the aunts and uncles I have are great, but do I feel AS close to them as I would LOVE to believe my own nieces/nephews are to me? No, I don’t…that’s just me being honest. It may have a lot to do with a majority of my nieces being fairly close to my age and living close to me for a good part of their lives. I don’t doubt that has an influence on my feelings for them but the ones who are further away from my age, I love them JUST as much.
When I think of the WHY, I really attribute it to the simple fact that I have NEVER known what it’s like to NOT be an Aunt. (Forgive my double negative there! Bad grammar alert!)
I know what it’s like to NOT have a husband because I spent 25 years of my life as a single person. After being with my now husband for a while, my heart expanded and I fit a new love into my life. I know what it’s like to NOT have my own child, because I am motherless at the moment. When I have a child, I expect my heart to grow yet again to find room for another love. My heart has never had to grow much to find room for nieces and nephews, although many have come throughout my life. From the very first moment I can remember of my life, I WAS already an Aunt. My heart already had a section that was ready to be filled with all the additions that would come. It wasn’t something new to get used to, because I never knew a time when it wasn’t part of my life.
Let’s picture it another way. I was born with my Mom in my life and I’ve never experienced my life without her. (And my sympathies go out to those who have lost theirs, by the way) I know there’s a chance someday she will leave my life and I will experience immense heartbreak. Even thinking of this for a second just kills me inside.
Well, this is how I feel as an Aunt. I have never know my life without nieces and nephews and as each one gets added, that part of my heart just grows and grows. I have always felt like losing one of my nieces or nephews would tear me apart. It wasn’t long ago that I lost two of them, although it happened before I could even meet them. It hurt but the hurt was more then just a loss because now it was not only losing two great nephews BUT knowing that one of my nieces was going through a heartbreak that I can’t relate to her about yet. It was incredibly sad to know the niece I once saw in diapers was experiencing such tragedy and there wasn’t much I could do about it.
I never want to lose one of my nieces or nephews AGAIN and I never want them to go through heartbreak. When they are upset, I hurt for them. I get scared when I think of any of them not only going through hard times BUT the thought that one of them might decide to EVER cut me out of their life or not want anything to do with me. It literally makes me want to break down in tears. There was a time when I felt so close to them that I didn’t think it would ever be a problem but as an adult, I KNOW how people grow up and change and drift away from you. I have had many old friends just fade out of my life and I don’t want that to happen with them. Each niece and nephew are like a puzzle piece of my life and whenever one is missing, my life doesn’t make sense. The puzzle is incomplete….and I am left feeling like a piece of my heart has been misplaced.
I was born to be an Aunt and love all my nieces and nephews. To all of you guys: I hope you understand that to me, I’m not just an extended family member. I was put in your life to be there for you, to listen when you need it and to always care. I was born to love you.