The Makings Of An Aunt


Dear Fidget,

Until yesterday you were only a dream to me. I was unsure what your mommy would decide in the baby department. I begged and pleaded for her to get on with it, have me a niece or nephew for goodness sake, but, as you will soon learn your mommy is not lacking in the stubborn department. The last few months the desire to be an aunt has been all-consuming. Your youngest cousin, Brynlee Jean just turned five and in my eyes that was the “official” age she quit being a baby or toddler. I know, I know there is no magic number when one goes from baby to child but in my mind, she had transitioned from a baby to a little girl….It was a sad day for me. You will also come to know that your auntie is lacking in the reasonable reaction department, and I tend to sway either hard left or hard right…..I don’t do middle of the road. This is a trait that you will probably find in your favor. I will be going to bat for you, I will advocate for you, I will spoil you rotten, I will also teach you morals, I will tell your mom when you do things she would disapprove of, I will listen to all your secrets, I will also tell you right from wrong…but through all of that I will love you bigger than the universe.

This blog is to introduce myself to you and everyone else. I do not know the point of this blog, other than to try to help you understand the diverse family you are coming in to. You have a very strong group of women to contend with, if you are a girl, I hope all of the women in your life can help you also become a phenomenal lady…if you are a boy, you will judge all women by the examples in your life, and for that I will try to live up to the expectations I would hold for your future wife. Here, I am talking about your impending nuptials and you are not even born yet. I warned you that I am an over-thinker! I will save the introduction of the rest of your family for a later post.

Here are a few things you should probably know about your one and only aunt. I always knew as a little girl I wanted 2 things, 1. to be a mommy 2. to have a sister. I wouldn’t know until a little later on that there was a very important third need……to be an aunt, to share a part of my sister, to get to capture a glimpse of her once more as a little baby, to get to know her as a grown up so I could take it all in….and that is where you come in fidget. Nothing ever came easy for me……mostly because you come from a long line of stubborn and determined women. You will also learn we are every bit as tenacious as we are stubborn.

When I was a wee one, I can remember looking at my mom. She didn’t have to be doing anything special. She could be cleaning the kitchen, or running my bath, or reading me a story, and out of nowhere this overwhelming rush of love would flood through me. It would literally take my breath. I would stare in awe of this remarkable women, the way she loved me, the way she smelt, the way she smiled, the sparkle in her eyes, I tried to memorize every single moment. I was born an old soul, truly, I was always an observer, vigilant, loyal, mature, and my mom was my end all be all. I encourage you to take moments to really appreciate your mom, look at her when she doesn’t realize you are watching and store those memories somewhere sacred to pull out now and then. Cut your mom some slack, love her always, and be slow to anger at her. You see, little fidget, she doesn’t know it yet, but as a parent your child holds the ability to hurt you with a few small words. You, of course, will not know the effect of a few words spoken in haste as a child. But, your mother, she will remember every single one! She will likely crawl in bed most nights and feel like she isn’t doing something right. She will be her own biggest critic. Being a mommy is the greatest blessing, but having a mommy is as well…..never forget that. Be her cheerleader, rally around her, hug her often, and try not to grow up too fast.

With that being said, being a mom was always first on my agenda. I would look at my mom, with her long blonde hair and startling blue eyes and the love I felt was like an overflowing well that threatened to burst at the seams of my heart. My mom, your nanny, well she is pretty amazing. She was always there to listen to whatever I wanted to talk about, she wasn’t above getting in the floor and playing babies with me, and goodness how she loved me. It wasn’t her love so much for me as the incredible love she had for me that made me want to be a mommy, but the feeling that swelled in my heart for her. I wondered how it would feel to love a child that much and for a child to look at me the way I looked at my mom. I wanted my child to know the joy of having a nanny like my mom. I just simply couldn’t fathom loving anyone more than my mom and having that love unconditionally returned. Even as a tiny tot I remember wagging my baby dolls around, taking meticulous care of them, practicing being a mommy. My mommy and I, a few dollies, well that was all I needed…for a little while. Then this void started to form in my youthful heart. I was too young to understand it yet but it continued to grow. And from it sprung a longing for something real. A loneliness crept in and I felt so alone.

Suddenly, a baby doll just didn’t cut it. Sitting in my room playing with all the toys a small girl could want was losing it’s appeal. Mom would come and join in, but there was someone missing…….I analyzed this emotion and realized it was a sister that I was longing for. I am not the wishy washy type and when I set my mind to something it becomes an obsession. I had a ritual, every night, when the house was asleep, I would crawl to the edge of my bed, line all my stuffed animals and dolls and we would pray for a sister. I wished on every star…..but alas, it seemed I would be an only child. I began to ask for a sister for christmas, or my birthday, and every holiday in between. Then, my mom, the very one who loved me best of all gave me that gift. She said that I was going to have a little brother or sister. I knew this might be my only shot at having a sibling so I prayed it was a girl. I wanted a sisterhood, I wanted all the fun of sharing toys, tea parties, barbies, dress up……oh my, it simply had to be a girl. I have no doubt I would have loved a brother but thankfully God seen fit to give me my heart’s desire. On August 3, a tiny little baby girl was born, (someone that would one day be your mommy) and that day a sister was born as well. I was enchanted with her, again I found myself studying her.

How could hands be that tiny? How could toes be so perfectly detailed? Let me tell you she was so much better than any life-like baby doll. She moved, she smiled, and to my amazement she worshiped me! From the day she was born I loved putting her in frilly dresses (from the woman I know today she was probably cringing at the girliness factor) she took it in stride. I never tired of holding her, and I even changed her diapers with a zest that most 7 year olds would have snubbed their noses at. I relished in this role I played. I would wait outside her room for the slightest peep to take the opportunity to be in her presence. Even as an infant, your mom, had me wrapped around her tinsy finger. Now, someone needed me, but more so I needed her. As she grew, so did her personality…she was always a pip squeak as a child, but her personality far surpassed her tiny stature. She could captivate a whole room, she had this god-given gift that drew people to her, she seriously spread sunshine wherever she went even when she was being less than sweet. She used to do this thing where she would do something so funny, (she was always logical….and so she was lost in the humor of an innocent question that was funny). She would get so mad when she said something funny and people laughed. “Don’t laugh at me,” she would exclaim and somehow that only added to the funny factor. Her tiny hands balled on her hips, lip quivering, and anger seething from every orifice  I tried a number of times to explain we weren’t laughing at her or making fun of her we were laughing at what she said, we were laughing with her. She would reason, “It wasn’t funny, I wasn’t laughing, if I wasn’t laughing you cannot be laughing with me!” Which usually guaranteed another laugh from me, and another reprimand. Nothing got passed her and she was always quite literal, even as a child, which was probably not her favorite thing since her mom and sister were possibly the most likely to find humor in things that others did not. This was the family she was blessed with..bless her heart. My sister was my cheerleader, she supported me, believed in me in a way that I didn’t believe in myself, and she loved me unconditionally.

Now do not get me wrong she has a great sense of humor. She still has the ability to make me laugh when no one else can, because we get each other. We know the other’s thoughts before we even knew we were thinking them. We have secret looks, for when people are getting on our nerves, we can sit a room away, and one glance reveals the other’s thoughts, which then brings on the giggles. Your mom and I are different in a lot of ways but we are intellects, and we pride ourselves at the ability to “laugh AT people” without their knowledge……writing that down on paper sounded much crueler than it is. lol

Then as I grew into an adult, and Sis grew up, I moved away, again my heart hurt for something unseen. I needed to be a mommy. And so began my journey. Again, I found my way to the end of my bed every single night. I won’t go into detail about how devastating that journey was, I will share that story another day. But, I will say that many nights I spent crying myself to sleep. I was drawn to every baby aisle, in every store, it pulled me to every infant within sight, and it left my arms feeling so empty. It seemed so ironic that the one thing I had always wanted, was something I couldn’t control. I didn’t think I would ever be a mommy! No worries, my sweet Fidget, this is a happy story. It took me seven years, the same amount of time it took to be a sister for me to finally become a mom. The day I became a mommy, I was 27! Another thing you should know is seven is my lucky number. I felt so fulfilled, and just when I thought life couldn’t get better I became a mom again on november 7, 2010! I have two daughters! This may be a blessing if you are a girl, and a curse if you are a boy. But, lucky for you if you are a boy, Brynlee Jean is a tomboy like your mommy was so she will be happy to get muddy with you…..I am pretty certain I am raising my sister’s child, so with any luck she will get pay back and get to raise a version of me! Won’t that be hilarious? Well, not so much for her, but you and I will surely share a laugh.

Needless to say, being a mom was all I imagined and a little more. I love the smell of baby magic above all things, I love the way it feels to have a contented baby resting in my arms, I found myself once more staring hopelessly in love with tiny hands and feet. Then those little hands started to grow, and I wasn’t prepared for that. You see, Fidget, two babies was all your Aunt April would be blessed with. So as they grew, I begged time to slow, for them to just stay little awhile longer……but against my wishes your cousins started becoming little people. (I know, right? How dare them? But AGAIN they are stubborn which seems to be a family trait as well as not listening…lol) Begrudgingly, I put away the baby magic, feeling a sense of loss I have never imagined. Thinking this was the last baby I would get to lather in the heavenly scent. Slowly things, many last times began to happen. The last diaper, the last bottle, the last lost paci, the last time they would need me to rock them…..and it seemed so unfair. I had waited so long to be a mom and then when they got here they grew way too fast.

The longing in my heart started to form again, but I had to have a surgery to make sure I couldn’t have any more babies. The likelihood of me having another child was already slim to none but the finality of shutting that door forever made me grieve for the end of all things babies. I felt like I was closing the door to such a huge part of myself. No more baby sisters, I knew that, no more babies for me……no more babies. The stirring began to grow and grow. Mind you I had already began to dream about becoming an aunt. I watched your mommy with my girls, I saw their faces light up watching her the way mine always has. They were as enarmored with her as I was and the feeling was mutual. Your mommy, my sister, morphed into this unrecognizable puddle of mush with her nieces……and so the concept of you spun in my racing, thought filled mind! A little boo? I mean how much greater could the universe be? A little replica for me to worship, a tiny person who adored me like my girls adored her? Suddenly, my new focus was to dream you into reality……Well, if you are anything like me or your mommy, you already know what happened. I began to crawl to the foot of my bed every night and pray for you. I began wishing on stars. Three nights before I knew you were already on your way, I am not ashamed to say I begged my sister to make me an aunt. Little did I know, she already had and just hadn’t told me yet. The way she announced your impending arrival, is something I will never forget.

I think that I got to be a daughter first to learn how to give love. Then I became a sister to learn how to cherish someone. Then a mommy, and raise these amazing little miracles. Which means for you, I am basically the best of the best, the special forces unit of all things baby. So you will possibly get the best of me! The part that can love you, adore you, rock you, snuggle you, and at a stage in my life when I know how fleeting those moments are. I plan on taking every second in, cataloging it in my heart, and squeezing out every ounce of every moment.

The moral of this story, my sweet, tiny Fidget, is never give up on your dreams, whether it be something big or small. Because, it is all the small things that you look back on one day and realize are really big things. Today, as I write this, I am humbled…..humbled that my biggest wishes came true. Now, before I close I want to add, I am counting the days for your arrival. I am certain time will drag at a snails pace until then….I am not patient by any means. But you stay tucked safely in your mommy’s tummy until you are big enough and prepared enough (not sure you can be prepared enough for all the love I am going to give you) to come out into this world. I need you to make me two promises, k? Promise me that you will endure my kisses, and squishes, and swooning over you, even if you are opposed. It will make things much easier that way because I am going to do it anyways, just ask your mommy. The last promise I made my girls promise me but they didn’t hold up their end of the bargain so I am counting on you……..promise me you won’t grow up too fast? Promise me, that you will try to stay a baby for as long as possible, deal? In return, you get endless ice cream, cookies, and tons of doting from me. Adulthood is overrated so just stay little, and let me relish in your sweetness! I love you, Fidget!

Love you around the world and back again,

Auntie A!

Teaching Me

Motherhood teachings by my daughters: Today was a good day…as a day can go when you have kiddos. There were a few snags, fights, and quarrels but overall everything was smooth sailing….until around 11 this morning when Brynlee was playing with her doll and Braelyn decided that she wanted it….well, both my girls are strong willed and so the fighting ensued…in which Braelyn punched Brynlee! Well, I discourage violence but kids will be kids. So, I kissed Brynlee’s boo boo and told her she would be okay and then put Braelyn in her room to “think about her behavior then she could apologize to her sister!”
Braelyn was raising a commotion and screaming…and then silence..Hmmm…I thought I am brilliant; all this time out stuff is finally working. So after a few minutes I walked down the hall and heard the soft sound of Brynlee’s voice, “It okay, Sissy….shhhh” Braelyn was crying, “Mommy, make me go to da time out! I not want to go to dat time out!” Brynlee was consoling her and said, “You get up in just a minute, baby. It okay, honey! Here Sisser, you hab it! Don’t cry..” Both girls were oblivious as I stepped into the room and witnessed one of the sweetest things I have ever seen. Brynlee was stroking Braelyn’s back, and was snuggled up to her attempting to rock her…and there in Braelyn’s lap was the baby doll she had wanted. The very same doll that Braelyn had wanted so badly…Brynlee’s favorite baby doll…the doll that had caused all the chaos and the reason Braelyn had hit Brynlee! Yet, not even five minutes later, the fact that her sister had hit her, and tried to take her toy…it was all forgotten. In that moment all that mattered was her sister was crying and she wanted to fix it. Already, she had not only forgiven her but had gifted her with her favorite toy! That is the beauty of babies….no grudges, no hatred, no bitterness, just love and forgiveness! As adults, we hold tight to grudges of those who have wronged us, when we see them hurting we often think, “That is what you get for hurting me!” But in the pure heart of a child when someone they love hurts them, they forgive, and when someone is in need of comfort they give it to them….today that need was a baby doll with wild hair, a kind word, and a comforting hug from her sister! Be slow to anger, and quick to forgive, that is the lesson they taught me today!

True love

True love is giving up your last piece of bacon! My girls fight like any other siblings but when it comes down to it, their love for one another is the sweetest thing I have ever witnessed. Braelyn and Brynlee LOVE bacon (one of few things I can get them to eat) So I fixed them a plate of bacon this morning and they got down to the last 2 pieces. Brynlee took one piece, Braelyn looked at the plate, noting there was one piece left. She waited for her sister to eat her piece, (I could tell Braelyn wanted the bacon) after brynlee finished eating her piece, my sweet Brae looked at her, handing her the last piece, and says, “Here Dinky Do, you can have the last piece. You is little and you need to grow big. If you still hungry you eat it!” Brynlee said her belly was full and I told Brae that she could eat it and I could make more. Sweetest gesture ever. Just when I wonder if I am doing everything right as a parent, they do something like that and I know I am either doing something right or I just have the best kids in the world!

My Sister, My Friend

A little girl kneels to pray at the foot of her bed
“God, please give me a sister,” she says as she bows her
“I won’t ask for anything else, if you will make this one
prayer come true!”
That little girl was me, and God gave me you
God made us sisters, but love made us friends
Someone to turn to when no one else understands

You came along and I was no longer just a little girl
Because to my little sister, I was her whole wide world
She thought I knew the answer, when no one else did
It never occurred to her that I was only a kid
God made us sisters, but love made us friends
It’s amazing how someone so small held my heart in the palm
of her hands

I was never alone, it seemed you never tired of being at my
You thought you could do everything I did, and you certainly
I would watch as you tried to make me proud, by doing the
things big girls could do
I was always proud but you were growing up and I wasn’t
ready to let go of you
God made us sisters, but love made us friends
Someone to share life as a chapter closes, and a new one

Sometimes late at night I would awake and find you there
Snuggled in the bed with just me, you and your teddy bear
I would lay awake and look down at you as you slept
I’d think of all the love I held for you, all the secrets
you kept
God made us sisters, but love made us friends
A part of yourself to turn to when your world ends

I wish that I could capture our childhood and hold it for
just a little while
Perhaps I would capture a moment, or perhaps just your smile
I’ve prayed that I could rewind time, or make the hands of
time stop
But I know that all the prayers that could be answered, none
could surpass the sister I’ve got
God made us sister, but love made us friends
Sisters are a part of you from the beginning to the end

I can’t replace the mistakes I’ve made, but I have faith
that you know what you are chosen to do
So, though it is hard to let go, I put my total faith in you
It is completely selfish to hold on to something that is
born to fly
So I will let go, and I know you will touch the sky
God made us sister, but life made us friends
So, I will be here for you as part of my life closes, and
your’s begins

Prologue: I wrote this for my sister’s yearbook. It was such a heartwrenching time for me. Thinking of her all grown up and all on her own. I was filled with pride, and sadness. I missed the days that we could never get back. There is nothing like a sister!

Sisters in the Snow

Just came in from playing in the snow with my girls! I usually hate the cold weather…..but what better to warm your heart than two little girls playing in the snow? Throw in a senior lab, who for a glimpse in time is once more a puppy. Hank was leaping and bounding with the girls into the pillowy clouds of snow. Braelyn built a tiny snow man, and Brynlee built one bigger than her…..So representative of my girls personality, Braelyn’s little snowman was meticulously precise. It was tiny, and quirky, just like her. Brynlee’s mantra in life is the bigger the better! (which matches her small demeanor and BIG personality) Her’s was so large that her tiny arms needed help reaching the head to place the carrot in it’s nose!
Long after Brynlee had finished her’s she proceeded with pegging me with snowballs, then they tag teamed me in an epic snow ball fight!
Braelyn was enchanted by the beauty of the snow, captivated she ran her tiny hands through it, threw her head back to watch the way the sun danced on the white crystals, I could see her soft breaths taking in the freshness of the moment….oh the beauty of a child’s heart.
Brynlee was not the observer; she was active in the moment. Rolling in it, crawling through it, throwing it, and tasting it! My tactile child, my introvert who needs to feel her surroundings.
Between the wads of snow I was transcended to a different time and place…outside on a blustery winter day with my sister! I cannot count the number of snowmen we made, the number of snowballs we launched at each other, but mostly I remember the laughter! The way it rang through the air, bouncing through the fresh snow and falling back into my ears like musical notes in the air. For but a moment, I was overwhelmed, for my love for them, the love they have for each other, the love I have for my sister!
Time stood still, in front of me were the two greatest loves of my life, but for a second they were two little girls from yesteryears. They were just taking in the joys of childhood. The only care in the world was keeping our hands and feet from frostbite! Braelyn even had my sister’s old coveralls on…..I willed myself to remember this moment, to store it away for a day when they are grown, and these days have passed. I felt a lump build in my throat at the realization of how quickly that day will arrive. Was it not yesterday that it was my sister and I? Too soon I will have to recall these memories instead of make them…the thought breaks my heart. It makes me miss my sister, it makes me miss these little girls who will surely grow up against my will for them to stay small, and it makes me eternally grateful for yesteryears, and the here and now!
So, in rememberance of today and all those that passed, I taught them how to make a snow angel. Watching their excitement at the tiny angel imprints they created. I saw my sister there, me teaching her this very thing, and when Braelyn looked up at me a tear slid down my cheek. Never in my life can I go back to the days I shared with my sister, but my girls get to share this gift, and I get to relive it through them….and that is my gift…Sis, if you were here I would build a snowman with you, and then throw the world’s biggest snowball at you!!!!!! Miss you every second!