There is only one reason why I’d leave the comfort of my lovely townhouse to sit in standstill traffic for 45 minutes.
Actually, two reasons.
90 minutes later, I arrive at my brother’s house. My 8-year-old nephew needs assistance with packing so we sift through socks and t-shirts. His 12-year-old brother is all ready to go.
We talk about school and Halloween as we make our way to the large outlet mall. After an hour of shopping, we’ve had enough and fight traffic all the way home.
What’s cool is that both kids don’t like crowds so when we hang out, it’s pretty low key. Lazy days at home, playing with whatever action figures they are into at that moment, laughing at silly YouTube videos and watching movies.
Occasionally we go outdoors.
I love it when they freely share their thoughts. I learned years ago not to bombard the boys with questions about school and life in general.
When they start the conversation, that’s when I get all the juicy details.
More than spoiling my nephews with gifts, it’s about listening to them tell me whatever it is they want to tell me.
We discover that we share common thoughts and feelings. The 8-year-old tells me he is learning cursive writing and doesn’t like it. I told him I was a messy writer and cursive was a challenge for me.
“Me too! I’m messy” he pipes up as he demonstrates in the air how he draws an ‘A’.
We’ve discussed how we handle being angry. How important having alone time is. Sleep issues, money issues, future goals.
The boys know I don’t want children. They are cool with that. They know when they come to visit me, we actually visit. I’m down on the floor playing Halo and LEGO, even though I have no clue what I’m doing.
And sometimes, like right now, they disappear into my guest room-their room-and play together. So I’m writing this very late post because I aim to give them my full attention when they want it.
Connecting with these two humans has developed naturally. I really didn’t know the scope of being an aunt at first.
Something that people with children tell me- as a way of trying to convince me to have my own kids- “I never knew I could love this much until...”
What they don’t tell me is that they didn’t know how much they could be angry and heartbroken and fearful and guilt-ridden and all of the other intense emotions parents feel for the remainder of their lives.
As the years pass, my nephews become more important to me. They do add greatly to my life. This was definitely a role meant for me. It suits me, it gives me the best of both worlds.
I do hope that they remain strong and healthy and grow to be good humans while I am on this earth. I remember once watching them play outside while I was over to visit my brother.
I thought “oh, I hope they look both ways when they cross the street and nothing happens to them.”
At that moment I got a taste of what parents feel, the constant worry.
I wouldn’t want that, along with the many aspects of parenthood that people fail to mention as they goad me about my childfree choice.
I noticed something, the ones that try the hardest to convince me to be a parent are the ones that are the least satisfied with their choice.
Most parents, now, give me a list of reasons why I have made a smart decision. It’s both awesome and hilarious.
For whatever reason-aside from the fact that unprotected sex occurred- I have two kids that are related to me by blood and are the closest thing to being my own and I am happy to be a supporting figure in their lives.
I’ve gotten to see them learn to walk, learn to talk, develop artistic abilities and humour. I get to provide a fun space for them to visit and have adventures away from home.
Sometimes people ask who is going to remember me if I don’t have kids.
There is much that is wrong with that question but to keep things short, I say the names of my nephews.
Parenthood guarantees nothing. Having children out of fear is not for me. I don’t aunt out of fear.
I aunt because it’s fun and I have fantastic examples of how my supporting relatives played a vital part in my upbringing.
And I maintain my freedom to live my life how I want.
This weekend I will be cooking for 3, breaking up some minor fights, reminding boys not to pee on the toilet seat so much and watching more cartoons than I usually do.
Who am I kidding, I watch just as many cartoons when they aren’t here. And then I will take them home, return to my organized house and carry on with my happily childfree life until the next visit.
Have a lovely day.
Almost an Author
Former Fantastic Violinist