Before I joined the mom club and settled into my own mom-routine, I was an aunt. I was a crazy, visiting every day, gushing over babies kind of aunt. I was a find-any-excuse I can to visit kind of aunt. I was an “I’ll just live with you and be your nanny” kind of aunt.
And then I had a baby.
I knew things would change a little bit when I had my daughter. I knew life would be busier. I knew I would be tired. I knew it would never be the same for my niece and nephew. But, I didn’t know how much it would break my heart.
It’s strange when you become an aunt. I always thought I would think of my niece and nephew as just “kids” like everyone else. But I don’t. It’s different. I think of them as kids that I would give my left arm for. Kids I would adopt if God forbid, the need would arise. Kids that I want to succeed in every way. Kids that don’t annoy me at all. These children that don’t belong to me have such a deep-rooted place in my heart, that even having my own child made me feel bad for them.
I knew that I would never have much one-on-one time again with my niece. She’s the baby who taught me how to hold babies. She’s the baby my husband learned to swaddle for the first time. She’s the baby who I prayed would say my name when she learned to talk. For a while, she was the only baby. Now, she’s competing for attention with a little brother and a new baby cousin.
Dear Niece and Nephew,
I hope you know that your place in my heart is still there. Nothing has or can change my love for you. I will always light up when I see you. I will always beam with pride when you say a new word, or learn a new skill. If you want to dance, I will be at every recital. If you play a sport, I will be at every game. I will always hope that I get to see your “firsts”. I will always pray that when you say a new word it’s my name. I hope you know that you are always welcome in my home. If you ever need me, you can always call. No matter how many children I may have, there will always be room for you.
I feel a pang of guilt each time I can’t do something for them because I am so busy with my own. After all, they were here first. I hope one day they will understand how much I love them. Their bright blue eyes fill my heart with joy. My sweet little babies, no one can ever take your place.
Because before I was a mom, I was an aunt.