I have been around, and loved, children nearly all my life. I first became an Auntie when I was just 13. There is larger age gap between me and my sister than there is between me and her daughter! Since then, there have been another 9 niecephews join our family. I have 7 nieces and 3 nephews and I couldn’t love them all any more. Probably too much for their liking sometimes … especially a couple of them who hate hugs! They range from 7 years old to fully fledged 24 year old grown ups!
I worry about them when they are away, I get excited for them when the go to Uni, I panic when they have exams, I get protective if anyone is ever mean to them, I love telling stories with them, I look forward to them telling me about life at school, I excitedly listen to tales their parents won’t hear, I dance to Taylor Swift with them and I absolutely love being in their company. Every single one of them. I have never known any other feeling like it. I am very close to the older 5, probably because I can hang out with them like friends now. They are all so good to me, they come and do my garden for me (a job I hate even more than cleaning,) they do online dating for me (the only thing I hate more than gardening & cleaning combined!) and they make me laugh. Really laugh, proper belly laughs. They are brilliant and I am proud of every single one of them.
Telling the older ones was much less traumatic a thing than telling their parents! I knew they would totally, fully, understand. I knew they would be pleased that I was making my own path, finally getting everything that I have ever wanted. They also, all, love babies. It’s in our DNA, so any time the family grows everyone gets pretty excited.
One of my sisters girls was travelling over the summer, and I knew I had to tell them all at the same time or she would be livid! However I couldn’t keep it in any more, so I phoned my brothers girls. They weren’t together, so I had to tell them separately. They were both so excited … asking questions, offering support and generally reacting how I knew they would, even when one of them was seriously hungover!
Finally my sisters team were all back together, so I called them. I was on speaker phone and there was a lot of squeals, laughter, questions and tears. They were thrilled as I knew they would be, it was demanded that I should have a boy to try and even things out a little and they all said they would be there for me every step of the way. Just brilliant.
The younger ones, we will tell when it is more definite. Not for any particular reason, other than it will probably be easier for them to understand once it is successful rather than them having to go through what could possibly be a very long journey.
I cannot wait for my child to be part of my niecephews lives. They are all so incredibly lucky to have each other and I am beyond lucky to have them.
Photo: When I tried to squeeze my whole family into my tiny house for Christmas.