When my sister had her daughter nine years ago, it felt like my world changed. All of a sudden, here was this tiny human that stole the hearts of everyone around her. I knew she wasn't my kid, but being made an aunt for the first time was a feeling like I've never experienced.
My niece grew up in front of my eyes, and I was fortunate enough to be around all the time while she did. Babysitting was something I did willingly, and I didn't know how it was possible to love someone so much.
Our relationship is something special. She's basically a nine-year-old version of my sister, and it's like having a mini best friend around all the time. I didn't realize how important my job as an aunt was until she started asking me questions about life and the way the world worked, and it got me thinking...aunts are basically built-in superheros!
There are so many reasons it's rewarding to be an aunt, and these are just a few of them.
1. You Get To Tell Them Embarrassing Stories
What does every kid want? Besides a puppy, that is. Dirt on their parents! They love hearing about the dumb things mom and dad did while they were growing up, and who better to tell them than someone who, let's be honest, was probably there for most of those moments!
I love being able to pull my niece aside and tell her a silly story about what mommy did when she was younger. It's a little secret we can share between the two of us. Or we can laugh together while mommy tries to explain the reasoning behind getting her head stuck between the banisters. Either way, aunties have an arsenal of stories about mom and dad, and we're not afraid to use them!
2. You Get To Be The "Good Guy"
In our niblings's (yes, that's the word for nieces and nephews) eyes, aunties can do no wrong. No one has ever had an evil auntie, and that's because we can do no wrong! When my niece is throwing a tantrum and her mom tries to settle her down, it can be a bit of a scene. But when Auntie Meg steps in? No problem.
Aunties get to be the good guy almost all the time, because our job isn't discipline...it's FUN!
3. You Get To Spoil Them
An extra cookie? No problem. Stay up past your bed time? Sure, why not! Being an aunt means being fun and easy-going, even if you're not like that in your normal life.
It also means that when their birthday or gift-giving holidays roll around, it's time to shop. My niece's wish-list is basically just a shopping list. If there are six things on the list, there will be six things in the shopping cart, plus whatever else I find that I think she'll like. My sister has one rule: no glitter, no noise, and under 50 pieces. As long as I stick to those guidelines, we're golden.
The hardest part is not spoiling them with presents year 'round!
4. You Have A Built-In Cheerleader
My niece thinks I'm a rockstar, and sometimes that's the kind of support that keeps you going. I'll get texts (sent from my sister's phone) asking why something works the way it does, or why it's important to eat your broccoli. Sure, mom has the answers, but apparently Auntie Meg knows best. She thinks I'm an encyclopedia of knowledge, and frankly, I'll take it!
Your nieces and nephews always look at you with big, wonder-filled eyes, thinking you are what makes the world turn. It's an amazing feeling and makes you want to be a better person.
5. You Get Better Naps
Okay, so this one is less about them and more about you. Have you ever babysat your niece or nephew for an afternoon, or even an hour, and then got to go home right after and sleep? It is the best sleep you will ever have. You are WIPED.
This is the kind of sleep that eludes parents, because when they come back from an afternoon of fun...well, they still have to take care of the kids. At this point in my life, I'm not ready for permanent exhaustion, but I'll take a solid nap any day of the week.
6. Hearing Them Get Excited About Your Visit
I used to live super close to my sister, and I got to see my niece on an almost daily basis. But now we're a few hours apart, so our visits are a little more sparse. While that can sometimes suck, it also means that I get excited texts and phone calls about visits that are coming up.
I also missed seeing my niece the last time I visited my sister, because it was pretty short and she was at her dad's. She was pretty bummed that we couldn't hang out, but I got to leave her a note and a "BFF" key chain for when she came home.
7. They Make You Young Again
Would I have spent literally two hours using a bracelet loom to make a beaded craft if I was alone? No. Did I do this on New Year's Eve with my niece? You bet I did.
Having a kid who is constantly looking for fun and adventure is contagious, and it makes you feel like you're a teenager all over again. You learn about the newest fads, the coolest toys, and the fun games everyone is playing. It's like you turn into a kid all over again. All of a sudden, you're running up and down playgrounds, getting way too excited at toy stores, and watching Disney movies like they're Oscar-worthy performances.
8. You Don't Have To Change Diapers
This feels really self-explanatory. I'm not saying I didn't change diapers, I'm just saying that I felt comforted knowing I could hand off that baby at any time and not have to deal with the aftermath of peas and carrots.
9. You Get To Teach Them
Whether it's manners, how to read, or even how to catch a ball, being an auntie is full of teaching moments. I taught my niece how to crack an egg while we were baking and she talked about it for days. I also remember my sister and I teaching her how to catch a big rubber ball when she was about three years old, and it was so much fun to watch her learn from her mistakes.
Being an aunt doesn't mean you're teaching them math or science, but life lessons are just as important, and it will shape them into better humans.
10. You Get To Watch Them Grow
Watching my niece grow into her own person has been so rewarding. From her first words, to her first steps, to her first day of school, it's all been such an incredible journey. She now has her own opinions, and boy are they strong. She also has her own sense of humor, which absolutely kills me.
Aunties get to watch this new life grow in front of them from day one, almost as though they're your own kid. You only want the best for your niece or nephew, and watching them become a good person is the best thing you could ever ask for!
11. You Get To Embarrass Them Later In Life
THIS is what I'm most looking forward to. In hindsight, I should have kept a book of all the funny and embarrassing things my niece said or did when she was younger. As an auntie, I feel that it is my god given right to tell these stories as she grows up for the sole purpose of watching her squirm. All out of love, of course.
When parents embarrass you, it's annoying and you hate it. When aunties do it, well...they're the good guy, remember? There's nothing you can do but laugh!