The Perks of Being an Aunt

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I remember it like it was yesterday. Silently sitting in the computer lab at Grainger School of Business at the University of Wisconsin Madison. Working on Business Stats homework on a Thursday afternoon, trying to get ahead before the weekend. Though I always tried to get as much done before Friday rolled around, this weekend in particular was special.

It was snowing outside and the sun had already set. I remember thinking to myself that I really wasn’t looking forward to the walk home. And then, it happened. Taking a quick break to check out my friends social doings on Facebook, I saw it.

I am an aunt. I am an aunt to a beautiful baby. I may have squealed a bit, which explains why the people sitting next to me shifted awkwardly in their seats and flashed a confused glance my way.

First off, what a crappy way to find out some amazing news. How did no one call me? How did I not receive at least a text message before turning on my Facebook to see that one of my brothers (who lives 6 states away) found out and announced it to the world on Facebook before Auntie Leena found out? At the time, I wondered whether it was intentional that I barely got any service inside of the computer lab. Nice work, UW.

Second off, it was a boy. And he took on our family name (as is to be expected since he shares it with his father, and my father, and my father’s father, and his father’s father and so on…). He was healthy, as was my sister in law. And he was basically see through. Clearly, he was one of us, his Scandinavian complexion was a giveaway. I remember some tears of joy, more confused glances from my neighbors, and hurriedly packing up my work so I could get out into the night air and call my family to share the news and words of congratulations and excitement.

That was one day where I can truly say that my life changed. I was a junior in college, lacking in responsibility besides class and an internship, and not motivated at that point to do anything besides finish my homework early to allow for plenty of time for my social calendar. Flash forward four years, graduation from college, the birth of my godson, a full-time job, and a move for a promotion later, you could say that my priorities have changed. I’m responsible and accountable for myself and the Aunt that I’ve become.

I’ve titled this post “The Perks of Being an Aunt”, but there are way too many to be able to include them all in one post today. Here’s just a few…

  1. Getting to be silly without it really being silly
  2. Their giggles
  3. They don’t come home with you

I absolutely love my nephews and the moment that each of them was first able to say my name are two moments that I won’t forget – among many others.

Getting to be silly without it really being silly…

There is nothing better than spending a few hours just exploring the world with a 4 year old or a 2 year old. Everything is beautiful and amazing and to allow yourself to see the world through their unbiased and rose-colored eyes is truly a blessing. Too often, we just run through life without admiring the little things. Little things that to a toddler are quite extraordinary. I love to play and explore and to teach them to do things. And I can never turn them down when they’re making apple-cake pizza in their play kitchen.

Their giggles…

If I am ever having a terrible day, I have a video on my phone of both of my nephews being tickled and play-wrestling with my brother that I typically watch 2-3 times until I am laughing right along with them. Their laughter is so innocent and unfailing. It’s nothing like the forced giggle of a frenemy, or the malicious laughter of a jilted person. It’s untamed. It’s pure. And it’s a sound that would bring a moment of joy to even the hardest heart.

They don’t come home with you…

As I mentioned, I absolutely love my nephews and every minute that I get to spend with them. I cherish every “Auntie Weena”, every snuggle, and every hug that they give me when I’m arriving or departing. I don’t mind changing a dirty diaper, I’ve kissed their cuts and bruises, and wiped away tears when needed. But as a 25 year old whose perspective on having children of my own is in a time, far far away, they remind me of how I am not yet ready for motherhood. It’s a prospect that I am extremely excited for, but just at the right time. This is not yet that time, but getting to babysit them always gives me just enough of a glimpse of what that would be like.

That happy Thursday evening over 4 years ago is a day I won’t soon forget. My life changed right along the lives of my brother and sister in law, my other 3 brothers, my parents, and our relatives. A new life was brought into our family that breathed a little bit of new life into me. It was time to be a role model. It was time to start to understand and determine what sort of “Aunt” I wanted to be. And in turn, what sort of improvement I could make to be the person I want to be.  I want to be a positive influence for them; spiritually, socially, and mentally. I want to be someone they’ll look to for fun, a hug, or advice when they need it. And I want to be someone that’ll be there to watch them grow and support them in their life’s goals and endeavors.

What motivates you to be a better person?

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