This morning I read a post from Fran McVeigh, where she shared the news of loss in her family. I was touched by her words and with the visual she shared on her role as an aunt. That picture prompted me to write a post about my niece, and our special relationship.
When my niece was born, the first grandchild on our side of the family, my life changed. Not having my own children yet, she became mine in every sense of the word – I could never get enough of her. My husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, and I visited her every single weekend to live through all the many milestones of her infancy and toddler years. Our closeness was legendary in our circle, with the two of use receiving invites to birthday parties of friends, who were beginning to have children.
The truth is, we share the same sense of humor and cleverness, which was apparent from the start. One time she was in her crib ready for the night, when she heard Bart Simpson on TV. Never wanting to miss out, she kept calling out, “Bart!”, “Bart!”, “I want to see him!” until her mother caved in and let her join us.
Another time she was spending the weekend with me and wanted to paint her finger nails. I asked her if her mother let her do it at home. She smirked, and nodded, “Ah Uh.” So this rookie aunt gave her the bottle and she went to town! Another time she was watching me and my sister-in-law wallpaper my dining room. Sitting in the playpen, she was not happy and wanted to be with us, in the midst of the action. At one point, after awaking from a nap, and not forgetting her goal to escape, she stood up and defiantly pulled over the side of her diaper to pee, all the while looking right at her mother with that wise-guy look. Cindy told her, “you better not do that mister.” But, she’s my niece, so of course she completed the deed and got her way.
After my daughter was born, sibling rivalry ensued. Kristin did not want to share me with anyone. One time we were taking a picture at Easter to send to my mother. We placed Dana, who was six months old, onto Kristin’s lap, who was three and a half. Once the shot was over, she immediately threw Dana off her lap! My husband freaked out, while I couldn’t stop laughing. She was fine. When my children were in 2nd and 3rd grade, we moved to the same town as my brother, so our kids grew even closer, attending the same schools. In those years, we vacationed up in Maine in the Moosehead and Rangeley Lakes regions, kayaking and tubing in the summer along with skiing and snowmobiling in the winter. Great times – great stories.
The first time we went snowmobiling, Kristin wanted to ride
with me. Dana was with her dad, and Brian was with our nephew. Even though Kristin’s parents were there as well, she hopped on with me. With a five minute lesson in the parking lot, we started out of the lot across the street onto the trail. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but there was a pile of snow I was trying to manuver, but instead I went up the makeshift ramp, tilting on the left blade only! Bam! We fell over, the two of us hitting the ground with the snow-machine on top of us! My sister-in-law was flailing her arms, screaming, my son and nephew were staring in disbelief, and my husband, unsurprised, marched over saying under his breath, “Well, that didn’t take long, did it!. We, on the other hand, were laughing hysterically. Just another adventure – just another memory.
When I got married, Kristin was my flower girl. As the Ethel to my Lucy, she had to be there. During the ceremony, I placed a bouquet of roses at the feet of the Blessed Mother; Kristin joined me. Sensing the special moment, she quietly kneeled by my side, her hands in pretend prayer.
In November of 2015, Kristin got married; this time with my daughter at her side as her maid-of-honor… sister-cousins I like to say. She is a teacher, the same as her aunt, and is also in the process of completing her masters as a reading specialist; another passion we share. I am so proud of her.
In February, she stopped by to share the greatest news of all… she is pregnant and due with her first child in September! Unable to contain herself until the customary twelve weeks, she and Matt, presented me with the classic, Goodnight Moon, in a gift bag filled with pink and blue tissue paper. I sobbed… overwhelmed with pride and joy for this new life on its way – made even more special as we’ve recently experienced many health issues, and need this “over the top” blessing. Since my brother is going to be a grandfather, I guess that means, I’ll be a grand aunt! I am looking forward to watching Kristin grow into motherhood. For better or worse, I know she’ll carry a piece of my influence with her as she raises Baby Mansey!