Recently we were in California to celebrate the first birthday of my great nephew Damien. That’s right, my great nephew. I became a great aunt before I became a mother, and currently have five great nieces and nephews. I am the youngest of four, and my siblings had their kids early in life while I had Oscar late in life. As a result, all of Oscar’s cousins are either high school teenagers or adults in their twenties. I adore my six nieces and nephews, but as they grew up I became sad that my kids (if I ever had them) wouldn’t grow up with their cousins.
However, a small baby boom has occurred in our family, beginning when my nephew Ryan’s daughter Layla was born seven years ago, followed by Rylan, Zack, then my son Oscar, Damien, and Zoe.
Much to my delight, most of us were together for Damien’s first birthday party. At one point all of the new moms were headed outside and I realized we might not all be together in one place like this again anytime soon. I asked my niece Britney to take a picture, and what she captured was an absolutely perfect moment.
This is my little posse of new moms. From left to right, Ganae and Damien, Cerrina and Zack, me and Oscar, and Caitlin and Zoe.
There is nothing like the mother of a baby or toddler to say, “Yes! Exactly! I hear you. I have been there.” I am often stressed out, at my wits end, and frustrated by the well-meaning advice that so many people feel they need to dish out to new moms. But at the party, my niece Caitlin plopped down next to me and said with dry sarcasm, “So how is the whole motherhood thing working out for you? Is it everything you dreamed it would be?” We both looked at each other and then burst out laughing. Caitlin makes me laugh, Ganae swaps c-section stories with me, and Cerrina brings me bags of hand-me-downs for Oscar.
I am a proud aunt.
Proud of these young moms, who are doing an amazing job raising their babies. Proud of my nephew Cody who couldn’t be there. Proud of my nephew Ryan who is a talented chef and a wonderful father.
Proud of my nieces Britney and Ashley, who love Oscar like a little brother.
When Oscar was born I was sad that his cousins had all grown up and moved on with their lives. I never realized that this new generation of babies would bring us all closer and teach us again about the meaning of family, and the sweetness of love.
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