We met your teacher and saw a bunch of other kids in your classroom. I filled out the paperwork.
You were done. You wanted to go. We ran by your house to pick up a couple of items. I had the spontaneous idea for the three of us to go out to lunch before heading back to my house.
We celebrated with dessert first. Why not? I ordered for us because we were going to share the ice cream. “We’ll have vanilla and chocolate, more vanilla than chocolate though.”
“Ok the chocolate is mostly for me, but you can have the vanilla.” Gpa fed me and we both dug into the treat while we waited for our sandwiches. It didn’t take long for all of our food to disappear.
After we got home, it was time for you to nap. You didn’t fight it this time. You slept.
I texted with your mom to tell her how the morning went. She and your dad were out of town, but they checked in periodically. She thanked me for all my help. “Of course! Aunt duty.”
The rest of the weekend was full of fun. No more sleepovers this time. I needed to catch up. I even took a nap one of the days.
Sunday morning I had asked my friend Rosa to come help get me ready for church so my parents could help you two kids. Then we’d actually make it to early church and be on time.
Rosa and I talked briefly. She commented, “It’s like you’re the parent. You’re getting to experience that too. And when you have your own baby, you’ll just need someone to help you hold the baby.”
“Whoa, you’re jumping ahead, Rosa. But yes! If I get to part one (marriage), you know I’m going to part two (kids).”
“That’s right. And you are going to get there one day.” She spoke so confidently and this calmed fears that lurk in the background of my own mind.
Grandmama (my mom) got you two in the van while Rosa helped me brush my teeth and put me in my wheelchair. Gpa drove again. I sat with both of you beside me. You went to the nursery, niece. And you’re old enough to sit in the service now, nephew.
At first you sat next to Gpa, but then he got up and I secretly wanted to sit by you. I whispered and nodded my head. You understood instantly and moved to the chair next to me. You stayed beside me for the sermon, drawing on the bulletin, occasionally showing me what you had sketched. We shared more whispers and smiles. You kept looking to Gpa and at his watch in question, “how much longer?”
You were anxious to go. I’m pretty sure you were hungry. Again. You made it through church and went with Grandmama to pick up your sister.
I ran into a few friends before I left the sanctuary. Brian and Sarah had been sitting on our row and I wanted to chat for a moment about some future plans.
You were still anxious to go. Both of you walked right up to me, patted me on the arm and belly, “Come on, Let’s go!”
I said, “Hold on one moment. I’m almost done. Do you want to meet my friends?”
“No, let’s go!”
“Ok, I’ll be there in a second.”
I tried to finish the conversation with Brian and Sarah. They watched you return and repeat, “Come on, Aunt Laura!”
Sarah said, “That’s so cute. They really like you!”
“Oh yes. They’ve been at my house all weekend and one night we had a giant sleepover.” I talked real fast, knowing I needed to go and we could finalize our plans later.
I found you all in the foyer. We were off to my house one more time before taking you home that night.
I’m only your aunt. But my love runs deep. I love you like I would my own.
So dear nephew and niece, you make me feel, see, and experience what it would be like to be a parent. You give me a glimpse into a dream I dream. One day I want more than that. And one day you will understand how much you truly mean to me.
For now I carry this dream in my heart and I carry on loving you.