I have wonderful aunts. My kids have wonderful aunts. And now I get the chance to be an aunt. I am still reeling from this realization, especially after my trip to Virginia to meet my niece and nephew and spend time with the proud new parents. It was nice for a change to take a back seat in terms of child care and newborn anxiety, to not be the one in the hospital bed recovering from a c-section and waiting for milk to come in. This time around, I got to be the one changing diapers, tracking feedings, and holding the little ones, whispering promises to them of future shopping trips and spoiling and second and third helpings of sugary treats. Caroline, I wonder where I got all those ideas from?
Unfortunately, I probably won’t see the twins again until Christmas, so my aunty duties are long-distance for now. But I already have Christmas presents bought for them. I’m already planning nicknames and future play dates when all of the cousins can get together. I can’t wait to hold them again.
So in the meantime, here’s my stab at what I think being an aunt means, lessons I’ve learned from Aunt Barb, Aunt Lynne, Alli, Claire, and Caroline, as well as my experience thus far.
1. Don’t buy “mom” gifts. This might be hard for me, but I’m going to work at it. Basically, this means not being quite so practical.
2. Keep in touch and inquire often. Right now, I am completely invested in the bowel movements of my niece and nephew. I long for updates throughout the day.
3. Plan fun activities that involve shopping, sugar, and play-dough. This is all from Caroline. She’s got this step down and Riley and Adrian love her for it.
4. Don’t worry about sugar intake or making messes or spoiling. At the end of the day, the kids go home to their parents. Hehehehe. Yes.
5. Cuddle, cuddle, cuddle.
6. Find special ways to get involved. Aunt Barb and Aunt Lynne used to take Allison and I school shopping in Ohio. I remember those outings well. Aunt Barb and I found my senior prom dress on a clearance rack for thirty dollars. I loved the way it shimmered.
7. Support the parents without parenting. In other words, I get to be the good cop for once. Okay, so maybe I am usually in good cop mode even with my own kids…
8. Start traditions.
9. Have fun. It seems like aunting really is all about having fun with the kids. No baths or bedtimes or vegetables to fuss about, for instance. Get ’em dirty. Stuff ’em with snacks. Laugh ’em up. C-squared (both of their names start with C), that’s what I’m talking about!
10. Be there. For the kids. For the mom. For the dad. Help create a network of love and support.
Did I mention I’m excited about this aunt business?