I love being an auntie. Seriously. I love all the fun, the crazy, the hilarity.... doing stuff that makes the kiddos say, "we never get to do that at home" and then sending them home slightly sleep deprived, bellies full with our extra baking, and equipped with extra heaping helpings of extended family love, care and commitment.
I love telling tales on my siblings to their children. I love the reminiscing and thought induced cozy memories and rushes of love it gives me.
I love how it just seems to slow time down by bits and pieces when we have the nieces and nephews overnight.
When I married my Mister, I instantly became auntie to his six nieces and nephews (with two on the way). On that side, I am now auntie to eighteen kiddos plus great aunt to six sweet littles.
Obviously my side is a wee bit smaller. I have four nieces and nephews.... two of each, actually. We like even numbers.... yet I have 3 kiddos to their two each. Ah, but I digress.
This past weekend we had the wonderful privilege of having my brother's two kiddos stay over.
My niece is a sweet, shy, six year old-- she'll tell you she's six and a half.... halves count a lot more when your under ten, I think. Her brother is my Sammer's age and Sarah Bear is sandwiched between two (almost) 10 year old boys and my youngest niece Ree who's 3 (3.5). Sometimes I think she might feel like an "only" niece in the midst of that gap. My middle kiddo- Madsy just so happens to be Bear's favorite. Hands down.
But I'm thinking this Auntie may have made runner-up status this weekend.
This weekend I found out that Sare's love language is quality time and organization. *wink*
The Girl caught me digging through one of the end table drawers and saw all the goodness that we label "junk drawer" status inside.
She was smitten.
Next thing you know, that girl and I have pulled the drawer out and are sorting through it together with a plastic sack for trash on one side and organized piles of what-not on the other.
Sigh. Organization *Bliss*
As soon as we were done with the first drawer she was eyeballin' the other end table. We spent a wonderful hour tiding and organizing. That Girlie helped fill one whole bag for my 40 Bags in 40 Days (yes, from just two drawers- sigh). Girlfriend is straight-up helpful.
Of course, she was amply rewarded. She got to keep every bracelet and sticker we found.
Tidying makes one a wee bit famished so Sarah Bear (family nickname) and I commenced to making my favorite iced monkey bread for everyone to nosh on.
Girl likes to bake.
Sarah is a quiet, little girl when she's outside her comfort zone, but she crawled out of that shell and shared as we worked together. She chatted me up a storm. I love her voice and her dry wit. I love how she listened and trusted me as she tried new things. I love how she would wander her way and I'd wander mine but in a short while she'd pop up and find me again doing some project or other (like laundry) and she'd quickly offer her help.
That girl- she took me back.... to a time when my kiddos were littles. I pulled out Lu's old china tea set and got out miniature cookies & filled the tea pot with water. She served. We sat cross-legged on the family library floor (yes, we've got a little room we call the library & yes, I love it) and pulled out books to read..... books my kiddos haven't fingered or flipped the pages of in ages. She and I- we snuggled together on the couch with a flashlight and magnifying glass and spent a couple of hours trying to find Waldo together.
I was back in a state of little girl bliss.
My girls are seventeen and fourteen. I love their ages and the girl fun we get to have together, but pieces of me miss those younger years.... when each new task was a grand adventure and mama was the biggest, bestest thing in their universe.... I miss their tiny pippi's (what we called braids), tooth gap grins, little giggles and the way they'd mismatch their outfits. I miss little hands in mine and littles snuggled on my lap.
I am so very glad for the extra job of being an Auntie and how I can still experience these things and revisit these memories with my nieces. We watched Frozen with Sarah this weekend- she'd planned it all out. Her newest favorite movie, with a favorite snack (caramel corn) and sandwiched on the couch between a couple of her favorite cousins. As the credits rolled and the speakers spouted out "Let it Go, Let it Go...." those 3 girls filled their lungs and sang with gusto.
I loved it. [not the song necessarily- but the moment.]
*Bliss* to have that moment of watching those girls sing with abandon. To see Sarah smile and look up to her cousins with such love and awe.
We're planning to introduce her to a couple of our favorite musicals for her next visit.
Her daddy is gonna straight up love me when I introduce her to Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (FYI- not his favorite- not at all) and we get her singin' some of those tunes!
And guess what? My youngest niece Ree is coming on Friday. Squee!
I was more intentional about embracing the camera (camera phone) this weekend because of Sarah and how I knew these moments were special and I didn't want to forget them. I hope I've truly turned a corner with this embracing thing.... [I'm more than a third of the way through it now].
>>> Embrace the Camera is a year long challenge in which I agreed to take/have taken and post at least one photo of myself each week for 52 weeks. No editing out the wrinkles or digitally shrinking the waist line or cloning out the growing grey.... real pictures of the real me. Along with the photos comes bits and pieces of my heart- written out here as I walk this journey to capture the real me on camera for the remembering.
Click here for all cumulative weeks of the Embrace the Camera Challenge.