My Babies Before I Had Babies


auntI come from a big family, and I have many nieces and nephews. My twin nieces have a special place in my heart. When they were born, I was 15. They were born prematurely, and at 15 I did not fully understand what they meant. They were in the hospital for weeks, before I was able to meet them. However, I had a picture of them hooked up to machines with tubes jutting out everywhere and I proudly took that picture to school with me and would show anyone interested. When they were finally released from the hospital, l I held them all the time and kissed their little faces.  

Being an aunt is fun. As an aunt, you don’t have to change diapers, unless you want to. There are no middle of the night feedings when they’re infants. Aunts do not have to make sure they’re ready for school and make them three meals a day. You get to do all the fun parts of motherhood without having all the responsibilities. You can take them shopping and feed them cake for dinner and send them home to their mom. Apologies to my sister!

As their aunt, I was there to watch them grow up. I remember when they took their first steps, and feeling so excited to see them walk across the room. As they got older, we’d play outside and with their toys. And when they started kindergarten, I helped them with their letters and how to spell their names (this helped me realize I didn’t have the patience to be a teacher)! During summer break in high school, I often babysat them, and they became my two little shadows and followed me around everywhere. Some of my favorite teenage memories are sitting on my bed, eating snacks, and watching soap operas with them. After I graduated from college and had my own place, they would come over and spend the night at my house. We would have girl time and go to the movies, out to dinner, and whatever else that was fun to do.

Being an aunt helped prepare me for motherhood. While aunthood doesn’t have the same responsibilities as motherhood, there are some responsibilities. There are these little people who are looking up to you and watching what you do. Even as a teenager, this was something I was always tried to be mindful of. I did not want to set a bad example for them. Aunthood also prepared me for motherhood in that I learned how to put someone else before myself and how to listen to the troubles that only a small child can have, and show interest and concern. And sometimes even show some tough love.

Now my babies before I had my own babies are all grown up, and finding their way in the world. They turned 20 this year, but in my head, they are still little girls. I hope that they know that I’m always on their side and so proud of the young women they are becoming.