Full Time Aunt
Being an aunt is a title I never knew I wanted until I experienced what it was like to that badge with pride. For a majority of my life I was convinced that I would eventually bear children of my own but I became an adult, it never felt right. It was such a weird concept to all of a sudden have this tiny little human depending on you to keep them alive, but at the same time you have this parental obligation to help cultivate joy and fulfillment throughout their life. It was a different type of balance caring for another human being outside of myself but when it came to being an aunt it just made sense to me.
I became an aunt for the 1st time when I was 9. I was so young and we lived so far apart that I wasn't able to truly be a regular part of my Nephew's life. But even so, we grew up as friends being close in age making an effort to see each other 1-2x a year. My 2nd nephew came along when I was 13 and it was at that age when I truly started understanding the role of being an aunt. I was babysitting a lot, spending a lot of time together and so we grew incredibly close. My 1st niece then came along and with that new bond I decided to nanny for my sister and her growing family for an entire summer. Overtime, more kids came into the picture and as numbers grew, I sunk into this incredible ease I felt in being an aunt. I was convinced that I definitely wanted kids of my own having the mindset of being able to watch these tiny reflections of me grow up under the love and support I wanted so much to give.
Well, I decided to get married VERY young and learned very quickly that I did not want to have kids with the man I chose to be with. I was so young and I was not willing to sacrifice the things that I wanted to do in life for something I didn't even know 100% that I was committed to. I teased the idea for years, even up until our separation but never did it feel right to bring another human into the mess I felt I was already sinking in. Over the years I had met other children but none compared to the nieces and nephews I had come to watch grow up into such unique and (in my opinion) awesome humans. But, children are reflections of their parents and so it makes sense that I'd like my sisters offspring best of all. Long story short, I purposefully went out of my way on a regular basis for my entirety of my marriage to never had kids. Like WELL out of my way with constant effort. I knew that if I did have kids it wasn't out of desire but instead it was to appease a stigma of our relationship. I knew that would be in a very different place physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally going forward after the relationship if I bent on something I knew I wasn't ready for. That was honestly one of the first times I had ever learned to trust my gut and go with my instincts on personal choices and I'm so glad I listened. I wasn't ready to be a mom and to be honest, I don't know if I'll ever be
As of today, I am beyond grateful for the path the universe has chosen to take me on. Between Bryn and myself we share 11 nieces and nephews and each of those kids brings such a sense of joy and wonder into our everyday lives. Just spending time with them can recharge our batteries giving us this sense of childlike wonder that can last for days to follow. But being an aunt solo is nothing like being an aunt with the one you love most in life. I can't express how elated I feel having a partner who is JUST as excited to be an aunt. Not to mention, she just has this way about her in being able to let her silly flow without any fear of judgement. She wears that title with pride and a lot of times I find myself in awe of the sheer ease she has in being able to provide a safe and fun space for these kids to truly be themselves in. It tends to refresh me when I start taking myself too seriously in turn forgetting to let loose and have the fun you need in life sometimes. But, being an aunt doesn't just end with having a family relation because being an aunt is more of an adopted title than a legitimized job position.
There are tons of people on this Earth who are considered aunts and uncles by blood, but that doesn't mean they act as such. Plus there are plenty of others who are never put in the title officially yet they find themselves being an adopted aunt or uncle. As Bryn and I have gotten older, so have our dearest friends. Many of which have been on their own journeys with some having kids of their very own. But as I've gone through my 20's, I've come realize that being a fun and loving support system wasn't something that I had to limit to just my own nieces and nephews. I was able to be a part of something much bigger than any initial friendship as I watched our friends grow a little tribe of their very own. As adopted aunts Bryn and I have been able to invest time, love and energy into these little human we now value so deeply as they reflect the parents that we love and support wholeheartedly. We'll get to watch these incredible children grow up in a world that may be scary and dark at times but will always appear that much brighter as they'll have a tribe around them lifting them higher than they could ever imagine. To be a part of that means the absolute universe to us and it makes us feel like we are able to give back in a way. Maybe not as parents but as aunts!
Without kids of our own (minus fur children and having too many house plants) we still find ourselves craving that sense of purpose in using our natural maternal instincts. So without wanting kids, and without wanting a million cats or dogs, what better way to give back to our youth than through being an aunt! Plus you're typically considered the cool one in a kid's book if you're not either their mom or dad 😉 Being able to connect with the youth of our world is extremely important and not just for their benefit but for everyone involved. Kids just have this natural way of bringing out the goofy side of you and though it may seem juvenile, it's really not. We all rush into being adults wanting the freedom of being 18 but what we don't realize is that we can quickly loose our sense of silly and our sense of childlike wonder with all of the newly added responsibilities and stress. The hardships of life start beating down on you and with time anyone can become a sour puss of a human being no matter the age. But no matter how old you may be, you always have the ability to keep a childlike wonder about yourself even without having a niece, nephew or child of your own. One of my favorite quotes reads, "We don't stop playing because we grow old; We grow old because we stop playing" - George Bernard Shaw, and it is one I will always choose to live by. So go frolic, go play and have some spontaneous fun for a day! Do something that slaps the serious right out of you in turn putting a goofy ass smile on your face. Maybe being an aunt or uncle isn't for you and that is perfectly ok. You can still feel young without having a title or without feeling the responsibility of parenthood. It's all about how we see the world around us that makes us young and so for me I'll continue looking through my spectacles of spontaneity. Being an aunt has brought me so much joy in life and with a partner like mine by my side, we'll continue rocking the "Cool Aunt" title for as long as we possibly can.