Yesterday Chantelle wrote about becoming an aunty for the first time. I read the post nodding and smiling because it really does feel like that. That moment when you hold them. They are not yours but yours in the smallest of ways but you have no claim over them. You hold them that first time, look into those little squished up eyes and mark out a place for them in your heart. Forever.

Me? I’ve been an aunt since the day I met and fell in love with my husband. He already had two nieces, the most perfect pale skinned beauties and they immediately became mine too. Over the next ten years between us we amassed a total of eleven nieces and nephews {3 would technically be second cousin’s, I suppose} with two more on the way. They range in age between 13 years down to 3 weeks old.

They are a diverse ranges of ladies and gentlemen who we like to think all have a streak of naughty genius that comes straight from us. And you know what? We would give them the roof over our heads if they needed it. Whatever they needed, if we had it, it would be theirs. Aside from loving them, sharing our much disputed wisdom and such, that’s our job.

Arleigh Girl-7

But doesn’t it hurt too?

Being an aunt balms the pain of not having your own kids and simultaneously rubs salt in the open wound of a childless, not by choice, couple. The joy of watching them grow is enthralling and wonderful, yet it provides a marker, a sign post for personal losses and is heart wrenching in its duality. As new additions are announced or their grand arrivals made, our wait seems infinite. Never our turn as time ticks past too quickly taking with it any chance, any hope, we held for ourselves. Or so it seems.

But nieces and nephews  they restore that hope too. With their smiles, the love and affection. Every single tear you wipe away, nappy changed, successful toilet run made, conversation had, passing nod on Instagram, they restore me. Us. They remind us that there is always a new day, a clean slate, a perfect time. They remind me that life goes on and there are good times to be had. Not to take it all so seriously, to bask in this time I have now.

Most of all, they remind us to enjoy going to the supermarket alone, sleeping in and having clean floors. That our time will probably come and all those things will be a distant memory carelessly mentioned in passing as I fling my children into the waiting arms of their aunts and uncles to be loved whole heartedly. Which they will be, of course, because as an aunt or uncle that’s our job.

Lucky ducks.