Today was the first time in 3 weeks since I last saw my youngest nephew. I was babysitting him 5 days a week, but now that his mom is working days (which is when I'm at work & therefore unavailable), I have been averaging 1-2 days per week w/ him. Which is why 3 weeks apart is hellish to me. Apparently the feeling is mutual because when we pulled up in front of his house, he came charging out the front door yelling "Hi Aunt Trishy!" and climbed right into the van, ready to go.
Aside from being a mom, being an aunt is the greatest thing ever. When Justin & I got serious, I became the instant Aunt of a 6 year old niece & 9 year old nephew. They, too, used to spend nearly every weekend with us. As they've gotten older, that's slowed down quite a bit. We're lucky now if they spend 1 night every couple months with us. It's hard to explain how much I love these 2 kids aren't even my blood relation. I just do. A lot.
My niece is, in the words of the great Shrek, "like an onion". She has layers. There are times when she's so sweet, even a little vulnerable. She's smart as a whip, hilarious, and goofy. Peel back that layer, there's a bit of a calculated sociopath under there. She's mostly girly, but that is undermined my her parents, which puts her in this middle-ground balancing act, trying to be herself but please them as well. She's gorgeous. Sometimes she acts like she knows it and other times, she seems unaware. I'm most interested to see who she becomes when her parents are influencing her so much.
My oldest nephew is a hunting, fishing, outdoorsy kid. He rarely slows down, except when he's playing video games. Mostly he can be found outside on his bike or skateboard. He puts on a rough, tough exterior, but underneath that, he's extremely sensitive. This is the trait that scares me the most b/c it's exactly the way my brother was & I know without proper guidance, it can make a person susceptible to bad influences. We hardly ever see our oldest nephew b/c he's a teenager now & hanging out w/ your 30-something Aunt & Uncle isn't much fun.
My youngest nephew is the happiest, sweetest child I think I've ever known. His life has been tumultuous & unstable, but his good humor has never waned. Just shy of his 4th birthday, he's finally starting to talk & he's mostly potty trained. I've mentioned my concern that he is autistic in a previous post. I still feel that's the case. I've recently learned that his mom & my brother are living together again. Which worries me. They are toxic together. My brother is also a drug addict and I think that he will cause my nephew's mom to start using again, too.
Yesterday we had a house full of children. My youngest nephew was over for the whole afternoon and our niece came to spend the night. The kids just generally ran around & played most of the day, but last night the girls decided to play a little game of Just Dance 3. Not one to ever pass up the chance to boogie down, my nephew decided to join him. The sight of the 3 kids dancing like little wild monkeys was almost more than I could take. At that moment my heart felt so full, I thought it might explode. They're full of energy, and at times are more than I can handle. Despite being outnumbered & overpowered by their youth, the sound of a house full of kids laughing makes me feel at peace. I love those kids with everything I am.