I made a choice not to have my own babies, and that decision was made exponentially easier because I’m an aunt. I know it’s not for everyone, being childless. But it’s the right selection for me. And for Joe. Not many people understand why, and there are those who still won’t accept that the life we’ve taken is a childless one. But the people that matter, those closest to my heart, they see who I am and know that I’ve made the right decision for me. For my husband. For us.
I love children. And it’s a good thing I do, because I’m an aunt. Not to one, not to five. To many, many kids (and more on the way!). I take this job very seriously, being an aunt. It’s something that defines me. I am Amy, I’m a wife, a sister, a daughter. I’m an aunt. I know that not many women can take it to the place that I do. We have parties just for the kids, birthday sleepovers, any-old-day sleepovers, get-togethers, library Tuesdays. People with their own children can’t dedicate the time I do to their nieces and nephews. With sons and daughters, there isn’t always a lot of time for other people’s kids. I understand this. But I have the time. I make the time.
These little ones are my people, and I want them to know that they are loved, respected, and important. I may not make pancakes like mom (because apparently, “mommy’s pancakes are round.”) and I may not do the same things as mom (“how come aunties are so much more fun?”). My sister tells me that the kids are so exhausting for me because I focus on them so much during our time together. She’s right. When you only get a few hours, they are the main event the entire time. I would rather be exhausted than miss out on their moments. Lost teeth, school events, accomplishments big and little. Struggles. Fears. Dreams. Wonders. I am so, so lucky to share these memories with them, and I hope that when they are big they remember how their Auntie Amy loved them.
I’ll never forget how Grace use to crack me up and frustrate me to no end, all in the same moment. How Hope wouldn’t love on anyone else in the family but me. How Dax giggled endlessly as a toddler when we’d play Legos together, Mercy would fiercely snuggle and tear up when the “meanie guys” came on screen. How Amber or Conner would run up after not seeing me for too long and hug me so hard it took my breath away. How Lily gave me butterfly kisses while baking cookies. How Elijah and Isaiah were entertained for hours stacking makeshift boxes and buckets and blocks their first time away from mommy and daddy. How Cayla reacted when I got her her “special seventeen” resort spa night. How Marcus and Tristan got so excited and were so much help when they came over to set up for the Pumpkin Party. We have over twenty nieces and nephews, I could go on and on. All these memories, tucked away in my heart and tender as the day I stole them.
Because I’m an aunt, I love ruthlessly. They are mine for a moment, and I spoil them to no end. Because I’m an aunt, I am conscious of everything I do, everything I say, because their memories with me will be fewer and therefore, more enhanced than their day-to-day experiences. Because I’m an aunt, I can make their time with me special and take them to places they’ve never been before. Because I’m an aunt, I hope that they can trust me enough to come to me when they don’t see eye-to-eye with their parents. Because I’m an aunt, that matters to me. It’s important to me. I want them to go to someone trustworthy when they have a problem if they feel their parents aren’t an option. I’m an aunt to the depths of my being and to the unexplored places of my heart. I am theirs. And I hope they understand how much I love them. Because I’m their aunt.