the importance of being auntie

I am deep in the special heaven of being auntie. I started by visiting various babies of friends on my journey home, and now I am in the midst of a week of reuniting with my brilliant intriguing and ever changing nephew and niece. it was my niece’s second birthday yesterday.

being here with them, I am reminded of the importance of my role as auntie.

I remember the amazing aunties in my life.

my aunt karen, my mother’s youngest sister, who talked to me like an adult, wore perfectly torn jeans, and took me for the rare secret grape soda. another less clearly related aunt – tanya? – who danced with me all night at a family reunion event. she danced like dancing really mattered, and let me know I was great at it.

aunts that were friends of my parents were equally important – my aunt cindy taught me how to paint my own nails and purse my lips when applying lip gloss. my aunt corina taught me what glamour smelled and sounded like. and perhaps most important was my aunt margaret, the australian. she who wore bright gorgeous colors right down to her socks, and fabulous hats. she had a house that looked like an explosion of paints and sunsets and an aquarium and an international travelers collection. she loved food and children, and she laughed at everything, and had a good surprise/shock face. she made life look incredible and celebratory. she is present in how I do most everything.

now I’m here pulling it all together, feeling like I was born for this particular role. I dress each day with the intention of making my nephew and niece happy and inspired, wanting them to try on my jewelry, paint their toenails and be bold with their own colors. I come to them with my full attention, and we dance and play and create.

what I see now is that the auntie role is as much student as teacher and parental extension. they teach me so much every day that I am with them – about feeling the dynamic ups and downs of the world, making messes, pursuing happiness, letting things go, being unapologetically true to self, loving things wholeheartedly, using one’s body as often as possible (i hadn’t considered that i could feel free to act along with action movies, for instance), choosing over and over to not take things personally, and to ask for what i want.

they remind me that I too started off full of wonder and curiosity, and that each day is full of possibilities, anticipations, meditations, alone times, creations…that we can let go of even our tears, and move into laughter and declaring our love, whenever we want to.

and in exchange I guard them fiercely, and try to answer every question they ask honestly, and come up with projects to engage their imaginations, and say yes as often as possible, and hug and kiss them and swing them around and let them climb on my head in the pool and build them whole worlds out of furniture and pillows, and show them how cool it is to look closer at nature, and encourage them to give rounds of applause to anyone who makes them food, and so on.

and I love them – more than I knew I could love. it’s such an important role in my life, and I am so grateful to my sister and all the other loves of my life who are creating this next generation of brilliant beautiful babies.

tomorrow it will be one year since my grandfather died. he chose the spiritual path of his life when he was five years old. my niece and nephew are already showing such clear unique aspects of themselves. I want them to love justice and nature and spirit and each other and kindness and celebration. I know that all I can do is embody these things in my every moment with them.

its a blessed work.