I’m Retiring from Aunthood
This has been a central part of my identity for so long, I fear I’ve lost myself
I became an aunt on my 30th birthday when my younger sister had her first baby. I had just (finally) graduated with my B.A. after spending ten years changing majors. (Oh, if I had only listened to my heart instead of taking everyone’s practical advice!)
In order to be prepared for my nephew’s birth, I celebrated my birthday and graduation by throwing myself one big party — a party my sister, Tegan, sadly could not attend because of her advanced stage of pregnancy.
And then I spent my actual birthday on the road, making the three-hour journey to the hospital to visit the newest member of our family.
I thought it would be the beginning of a journey I’d waited for my whole life. I thought I would be able to share all my maternal love with my siblings’ kids, and then one day, it would be my turn to become a parent.
My sister moved back here to where the family lived shortly after my nephew’s birth. I had already made at least a dozen trips to visit her on the weekends, leaving right after work on Fridays and getting home super late on Sundays.
I didn’t mind. I just wanted to spend every possible second with little Ben.
My prayers were answered with their return. The whole family spent days at my sister’s new duplex, cleaning and helping her unpack.
A year and another baby later, Tegan and her husband bought a house and moved again, and again the whole family gathered to clean the new house, unpack, and keep the little ones occupied.
A few months later, my boyfriend and I moved into a home about four miles away from hers. My brother came to help us unpack. But we were mostly on our own.
I didn’t mind. All I cared about was that I was a bicycle ride away from my precious nephews.
And, by my estimate, just a year or two away from being a mother, myself.
The next ten years of this story are a blur of poopy diapers, boogers, birthday cakes, dirty feet, vomit, giant hats made out of newspapers, temper tantrums, time outs, video games, musical TV shows with anthropomorphized…