Being an aunt is one of the most fun jobs in the world. I have the good fortune to have ten nieces and nephews call me Aunt Denise. I’ll get to my nephews on another day – today is all about the five ladies who are my nieces.
Some are mothers. Some are teachers. Some are athletes. Some are wives. Some are activists and raise awareness for causes and charitable organizations important to them. They are all talented, creative, kind, beautiful women. I may be biased in my opinion but I think I am not far off in my praise.
Due to the large age range between me and my older sisters, I was an aunt at a young age. My oldest nephew was born when I was four, my oldest niece just a year and a half later. I was used to playing with older people, but with my nephews and nieces I gained playmates who were closer to my age. My nieces let me brush and style their hair and paint their nails. Together we would read books and color with crayons. We played dress up and house. I taught them board games and though I didn’t know the name for it then, they were teaching me behavior management and child development.
When I was in college studying to be a speech-language pathologist I realized how fortunate I was to have exposure to young children while growing up. I could relate to the theory I was learning in class because I had memories of my nieces reaching those milestones. Sara and Karen, who lived close to college, were conscripted as subjects for my friends and I as we practiced administering language tests. Of course they passed with flying colors and followed directions better than any student I ever tested “in the real world.”
Erin, Casey, Sara, Karen and Jenny, make me proud because they are young women who make a difference in the world. Erin (who is celebrating a birthday today) champions animal rights and works for an agency that supports people with disabilities. Casey fights for improved treatment for birth defects and premature babies. Sara and Karen are committed teachers, influencing children in their classrooms. Jenny is a single mother dedicated to doing the best she can for her own daughter. Their strength is a testament to their mothers, my very strong sisters. I see the best of my sisters in their daughters. I imagine my own aunts may feel the same about me and my sisters.
I am grateful to my nieces for all they have taught me through the years. I appreciate their patience with me as I learned how to be an aunt. It helps when you have nieces who accept you for all your quirks and know you love them in return.
P.S. Nephews – as promised your turn is coming. One of you has a birthday this month too….