17 May 2009

More unbearable cuteness

Jess and I were blessed with 9 sets of aunts and uncles. While we were growing up, three sets lived on our very street: we were never too far from a friendly snack or bathroom (though now that I write that, I don't know that I've ever met an unfriendly bathroom...). At any rate, these men and women helped raise us, provided examples of personality, marriages, and beliefs that varied widely from each other, and through them we felt the love of a large extended family that helped us feel deeply connected to our community and the world.
So I don't take aunthood lightly: when V and Will were born, Jess and I occassionally lamented to each other, "I would totally be a better aunt if I didn't have my own newborn/toddler/force of nature to reckon with." Though I was there when Will was born, I didn't get to absorb his babyhood much, because I had my own baby to get to know.
Now that the older cousins are 3 1/2, and Emmy is ten months of giggly babyness, I'm feeling much more of an aunt groove. When I see Will at school, he runs toward me at full speed, throwing his arms around my knees and squeezing hard. It's the best feeling, to be loved like that. Emmy's infancy has allowed me to enjoy the growth of a little one without the exhaustion that comes when that little one is mine. She has a mouth full of teeth, a sparkling laugh, and curious eyes that follow the blur of her brother around the yard.

And V and Jess speak each other's language. They are not necessarily similar in personality, but Jess gets down next to V and talks to her, and V listens more carefully to Jess than just about anyone. After I've turned away in frustration, Jess is still willing to explain things to her, and Jess inspires me to be a more patient Mama myself.

V only has three sets of aunts and uncles, 1/3 as many as I did. But those three sets vary widely in many ways, too, and though we don't live in the same city as any of them, I hope she feels the connection of family from here to Denver to Minneapolis to Hendrum. I hope Will, Emmy, and Jake all know that I would gladly give them a kidney if they needed it, and that I love them so very much, and I'm so lucky to be their aunt.

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