My nieces and nephews have been in our family for almost half of my life. I can’t really even remember my life before my nieces and nephews. They bring so much joy in their goofy little stories. I would always volunteer to go pick them up from their daycare room because I couldn’t wait to see their giant smiles when they saw me at the door or gate. Nieces and nephews give some of the best hugs (it’s a known fact) and the best snuggles (my oldest nephew is a prime example of this.)
When someone (or multiple people) mean so much to you and are so much a part of your life and what you love about your life, it is almost unbearable to be away from them. I remember seeing pictures of my nieces and nephews on Facebook while we were in our limited internet time and tearing up at the photos. When we finally got to facetime, I cried after hanging up.
I think one of the things that made it so difficult to leave my nieces and nephew was their age. My youngest nephew was 2. When my older brother left for college my youngest niece was two and when he came back she was really shy around him, like she didn’t remember him. I was terrified that the same thing would happen to me. For the older kids, I was worried that they wouldn’t understand why their uncle and I had left. They knew we were going to California to work and that we would be gone for a long time. My oldest nephew would ask when we were coming home and my sister would tell him “around Christmas” because that was the best way that he would understand the time we would be away.
I stumbled across this article one day while in California and sent it to my sister. I teared up reading it because it really hit home with how I was feeling.
“Seeing your photos on Facebook brightens my day because I don’t get to see you every day. Except you are growing up so quickly and I just wish I could keep you little forever.”
“You never hesitate to make me laugh or smile, because you say some of the silliest stuff and you think it’s the greatest thing ever. You smile and love life and everyone in it so please don’t lose that, despite what this world is going to throw at you.”
When you get older I hope you never see me as just another grownup who doesn’t understand you. I hope you feel you can come to me with anything and know that I will never judge you. When you feel like no one understands you or will listen to you, please know I will always be here for you.
Even when I’m far away I promise I’m never farther than a phone call away. I know I am not around as much and the times we see each other become shorter and shorter but it doesn’t mean that I don’t love you any less and that you aren’t a big part of my life. I can’t promise you the world, and I can’t promise life won’t be tough at times but I do promise to stand by your side through it all and be whatever you need me to be.
I tell the world about you, about how proud of you I am and how adorable you all are, and that I’m sorry to disappoint but that I have the best nieces and nephews around.”
I NEEDED my nieces and nephews to know that even though we were apart, it didn’t mean I loved them any less or that I didn’t want to see them. I NEEDED them to know that I am always here for them—even if it is not physically.
At some point, my nieces and nephews will be old enough to start to understand this. Perhaps they will set off on their own adventures that take them away from family and friends. In those situations, they may truly understand what I am feeling now.
My goal as an aunt is for my nieces and nephews to know that they are loved so deeply and unconditionally– in every way that I can show. And while being away, its a blessing to be able to share it through written words and, FaceTime and phone calls. And this is a goal that I will always strive for.
Find the original post here: Being Your Aunt, This I Promise You