Becoming an auntie was a transformation. I don't feel entitled to compare it to motherhood...but I will anyways.
Being present during my sister's pregnancy and then being present almost everyday for the first year of my niece's life was truly a gift.
I remember watching my sister's belly as the frog princess kicked and punched and wiggled around. The surface of her skin would rise on one end of her belly and drag across like a shark fin under water. It truly solidified my theory that babies are like aliens using their mothers as hosts...a sci-fi adventure I'm truly looking forward to myself.
Babysitting my niece, albeit a growth and trust exercise, was absolutely nerve wrecking. I suffer from anxiety and intrusive thoughts, so I would constantly play worse case scenarios in my head and send myself into a panic attack. I was scared of babysitting...but still felt it was a duty I needed to fulfill. After all, that's what being a Titi is all about.
I mustered up the courage to feed her, burp her, change her diaper and put her to sleep..periodically sneaking into the room and putting my finger under her nose to ensure she was still breathing.
Now that she is older, I look back and sigh in relief, because she's okay. She's better than okay, she's perfect. And with the exception of that one time when she was 3 and I accidental smushed her finger in the door (we both cried...it was absolutely wretched...I still tear up thinking about it), I feel like I've been a great Titi.
Living so far away, I'm afraid she'll forget who I am. So it's surprising and comforting to see that she not only knows exactly who I am...she looks forward to seeing me as much I look forward to seeing her.
Being an auntie allowed me to face a lot of my irrational fears. It allowed to me see the responsible, dependent, yet funny and quirky aunt that I could be.
It also instilled the confidence I needed to decide that one day, I too will voluntarily accept to be host to an alien parasite in my belly...