There is only one job as rewarding as being a mom, and that’s being an aunt. Nothing compares to seeing my nieces run to me for hugs and loving when I visit, arms spread wide, smiles even wider. I’m sure in that moment I feel better than any celebrity just hearing their name called to receive an Oscar. I know in my heart of hearts that those hugs are just as addictive as any controlled substance on earth, because I’ll take all the hugs I can get from those girls.
Kaitlyn, our youngest niece, is two and just beginning to string words together. We can’t wait to see what thoughts come out of her little mouth because so far she’s proved to be our most stubborn girl. Alexandria, her sister, is five and seems far older than her years.
Alex, as we call her, is an overall sweet and kind girl. She helps me to enjoy the girly side of life, something at which this tomboy has never excelled. I take her to events like fairy parties at the library where we’re immersed in all things gossamer and pink, and I enjoy them only because of the smile I see on her face. She is in love with princesses, which is something we have in short supply in a house full of boys. When she visits, I can count on her to want to watch Strawberry Shortcake cartoons until our heads explode, and I will braid her long locks until my fingers bleed, such is my devotion to this girl.
Over the few years we’ve been blessed with her, I’ve sewn her many things. Since she was three she’s been requesting certain items. She went through a Tinkerbell phase and requested that I sew a Tinkerbell dress that was purple, with wings that really fly. My niece has way more confidence in my creative abilities since I haven’t quite mustered flight. Recently, she has fallen in love with the film Frozen. Since viewing it, she has requested that I sew a gown like Elsa’s, complete with cape and sparkly snowflakes. I’ve lucked out and haven’t had a request for actual wintry powers.
Just recently she said to me, “Aunt Miranda, have you been working on my dress yet?”
“No, sweet pea. Aunt Miranda’s basement flooded and I have to wait to get the house back together before I can start.”
“Oh, okay. I’m sure all you need is a picture because you are a really good sew-er. I’m going to look beautiful. I just know it,” she said, taking my hand and skipping along beside me.
Yeah, crazy confidence in my skills. No pressure.
At her sister Kaitlyn’s birthday party, she solidified my devotion to her. I am, to say the least, overweight. I’ve been struggling with diet and exercise and unable to lose pounds because I’m battling health issues that work against me. It’s highly frustrating to work out eight to ten hours a week and see the scale stagnate or creep up slowly. My weight has been the cause for many tears lately and my confidence in any of my abilities has bottomed out, my self-worth directly connected to the number on the scale.
Alexandria was playing in her sand box with friends, too much fun going on to give her aunt even a second of her time. I said to her, “You know, I’ve been here a couple of hours and I’ve yet to get a hug from you. What’s up with that?”
She smiled her best smile and raced over to me with her arms outstretched. She slammed into me, wrapping her arms around my sadly huge belly. “I love hugging your big old tummy, Aunt Miranda.”
“Well, I’m working hard to lose this belly. With any luck, there won’t be much belly there to hug someday,” I say, feeling more than a little sad at the honesty of small children.
She looked at me and said, “Oh, my gosh, I hope not! I like that you’re so soft!”
I nearly cried, and hugged her harder.
I sat on the patio swing and listened to her and her little friends pretending that her sandcastle molds were planters. They busily filled them with sand and patted them down, sticking little cars on end in the middle, pretending they were flowers.
“Aunt Miranda, do you want me to make you a flower?”
“I would love a flower,” I replied and joined in on an adult conversation while she played.
A few short minutes later, she came to me with an upside down castle turret, filled with sand and a unicorn sticking out of the middle.
“This is the most beautiful flower I’ve ever seen,” I exclaimed. She smiled brightly and went back to work.
I found myself wishing I could live in Alexandria’s world forever. In her world nothing is impossible. All one needs to do is find the right person to help make your dream come true and have faith that she can pull it off. She loves people just the way they are, without judgment, and embraces the good in them. Her imagination helps her to see the possibilities that exist in everything. She makes me want to be a better person while still helping me to love life just the way it is.
I want to be the aunt that can manufacture flight.
I want to love that I am so soft.
I want a garden full of unicorns.
I want to make her that dress, even though she’s far more beautiful than it can ever be.