So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

I will never forget the day I became an aunt 22 years ago; my 19-year-old self was rabidly excited. I was in a college class (Western Classics, as I recall) when my roommate busted in, completely interrupting the entire class to announce that I had gotten a phone call in our dorm room to tell me that my nephew Charles had arrived.

It’s still one of the best days of my life.

aunts
Nephew #1. The 90s were amazing!

My two brothers soon began providing me with a niece or nephew to love every 18 months to two years for quite awhile, until I’d amassed a trove of six little ones to love before I became a parent myself at age 26. (This is only on my side of the family, my husband’s siblings were even more prolific!)

Being an aunt has been one of the greatest joys of my life. I loved babysitting them before I had kids, having sleepovers or taking them for special outings. I loved being with them and I loved caring for them.

I learned this epic aunting from my own great aunt, Polly. She was my grandfather’s sister. My grandfather died before I was born, but that didn’t stop Aunt Polly from being very involved in her great-nieces and great-nephews’ lives. She had grandkids of her own, but she loved us just as well, showing us with constant invitations to her home and delicious meals, playing games with us and attending our special events.

She had a family of “her own.” But she loved us like she loved them, not because she had to, but because she wanted to. She loved us because we were her brother’s family.

Even though I’ve been a mom myself for 15 years, I thank God that I am an aunt. For all of their young lives, I still have loved going to my nieces and nephews’ basketball, baseball, and soccer games. To their plays and musicals, to their concerts and recitals {and in one case, his Rubik’s Cube competitions}. I would not miss a graduation or a birthday party to save my life. It has been such a privilege to be there for all these things, and I am so thankful I live close enough to be in their lives.

aunts
If you’ve never had your nephew’s photo head on a stick, are you even an aunt?

My Aunt Polly taught me about loving for loving’s sake, and I’ve tried to pass that along. My niece and nephews don’t owe me anything, and since I didn’t bring them into this world, I don’t bear any responsibility for them. Yet, they have brought me such joy. I don’t love them because they give me anything. I love them because they are my brothers’ children.

Being their cheerleader, their admirer, their encourager, and their #fanaunt (check the hashtag on Insta – it’s almost all me. HA HA HA!) is a huge privilege and a huge part of my identity. One I’ve been blessed abundantly with. As I’ve watched them grow (they are now, aged 22 to just 3!),they’ve all taught ME so much: about perseverance, about serving others, about hard work, and of course, about joy.

If your kids have an amazing aunt (praise the Lord, mine do!!), count them and yourself blessed. Aunts are the ones who teach our kids how wonderful and valuable they are to spend time with — just because. Aunts choose to love and invest in our kids without obligation. And many times, that kind of love is exactly what our kids of all ages need. 

You might also like:

You may also like:

To My Brother: Thank You For Being the Best Uncle Ever

So God Made a Sister

Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here! 

Jenny Rapson

Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.
 

Summer Goes by Too Fast

In: Kids
Boy lying on bench at park, color photo

To my oldest, As our summer vacation nears an end and we begin school supply shopping, I think about all the things we didn’t get to do together this summer. I instantly feel mom guilt. All the plans I had made? Only half of them done—if that. RELATED: Remember When Summer Lasted Forever? All the books I was going to read to you at bedtime? Only a couple short ones. All the creative art we would do? Maybe just one time. The fact is, I let time slip away from me. I was too focused and anxiety-ridden about work, my...

Keep Reading

Going on Family Vacation with Young Kids is Work That’s Worth It

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom with two young kids on airplane

Our routine will be a mess. Our toddler won’t sleep in a new environment. Our baby needs all of the gear. The flight could be a disaster. I went through a mental checklist of reasons why this kind of family vacation would be hard. It was a pretty convincing list if I’m being honest. I considered throwing a pity party dedicated to the concerns I shoulder as a mother. A few days later I felt a wave of conviction wash over me. I was dreading a trip that was meant to be a blessing to our family. Any kind of...

Keep Reading

I Want To Raise Good Sisters

In: Kids, Motherhood
Four girls sitting on a rock in the forest, color photo

My current dilemma: how to teach four little girls how to be good sisters when I have no idea what I’m doing? I was an only child growing up, and a tomboy at that. It was a lonely, quiet childhood. I remember wishing for a sister, but knowing that with my single mom, it wasn’t going to happen. So, the sister thing is a big mystery to me. I’ve noticed (admittedly with some envy) adult sisters together and their inside jokes, shared history, and language known only to each other. I’ve read about sisters in books. The relationships between the four...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Just Love You, I Like You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boy standing at bridge, color photo

My growing child, my heart often aches when I look at how big you have gotten. You aren’t a baby anymore, you’re a whole kid. You are your own person, with your own thoughts and feelings. You have your own friendships, and interests.  Parts of me realize you don’t need me the same, but deep down I know you need me all the same. And I’m realizing, that in all of these changes, my love for you is also a like.  RELATED: Being Your Mom is the Greatest Honor of My Life Because now we can connect in a whole...

Keep Reading

Dear Kindergartner, I’ll Always Remember You This Way

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and child touch foreheads

The first magical flickers of your strong heartbeat on a black and white screen— the reassuring evidence I needed to know you were gaining strength for this world. My belly grew, and I proudly went shopping for maternity clothes to cover it. I felt the first dances of your little feet, and it reminded me of butterflies taking flight— the movement of a true miracle. I’ll always remember you this way. The sounds of your first cries—music ringing in my ears. You were real, Earth-side, and wanting only to be loved. The softness of your skin, the way you smelled,...

Keep Reading

Having the Tools To Parent a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder Changes Everything

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child playing with water in tube

My heart leaped into my mouth as Soccer Mom, with her matching foldable chairs and ice-cold Gatorade, glared at me. I wanted to explain how hard I tried to be a good mom, to raise a kind human, but I swallowed the words so I could vomit them at my 5-year-old son on the ride home.   Didn’t he know that pushing another child was unacceptable? Hadn’t I taught him to use gentle hands?   RELATED: To the Special Needs Mom Who Sits Alone Despite implementing the parenting books that promised me a new kid by the week’s end, I often wondered...

Keep Reading

There’s No Instruction Manual for These Middle Years

In: Kids
Little girl smiling on porch

As a preschool teacher and a mom, I’ve always felt pretty confident in my parenting from ages birth to 5 years old.  I by no means am perfect, and I silently rejoiced the day my kids could pour their own cereal and turn on Netflix for themselves while I caught some extra sleep. Even though that’s probably not a proud mama moment to celebrate, it’s just the reality of parenting.  We both celebrate and mourn independence as our children need us less. And let’s be honest, oftentimes independence makes our daily lives easier. Yet it is bittersweet.  It feels like...

Keep Reading

I’m Halfway Through Raising Little Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two girls smiling outside

Today I stayed in my car a few minutes more than usual as my kids hopped out onto the hot driveway and ran inside. The cold air conditioning felt amazing after a long day at the local water park; so did the silence. Then it felt odd, so I turned on the radio. The song that started playing hit my soul: “Woah, we’re halfway there/Woah, livin’ on a prayer.” I’m always living on a prayer, but I also noticed we are halfway there. RELATED: Growing Up, You First Then Me Halfway through the year, more than halfway through summer, and...

Keep Reading

Kindergarten is the Start of Letting You Go

In: Kids, Motherhood

We’re physically ready for kindergarten. We’ve got the backpack, the school supplies, the school clothes, and the new shoes. We’ve talked about it all summer. We’ve practiced the skills he will need, and how to open everything inside of a cold lunch box. We’ve talked positively about it and imagined all the friends he will meet and the places he will go, and how kind and caring the teacher will be. We’re physically ready for kindergarten. But here’s a little secret . . . My heart? My heart can’t fully be ready for him to go to kindergarten. I know...

Keep Reading

The Truth about Puddle Jumpers and Toddler Drowning, From a Grieving Mom

In: Kids
Little boy in Puddle Jumper on waterslide

The very last video I have of my 3-year-old son, Levi, is of him bobbing up and down in a Puddle Jumper.  His little legs kicking underwater, his eyes the spitting image of his daddy, and his older sisters, his happy grin, and his little voice saying “Cheese!” This time-stamped video, counting down the precious minutes we had left until he would end up in this very same pool, less than two hours later.  But this time, it was without the Puddle Jumper. I understand the sense of panic building inside you to avoid my story or read it just...

Keep Reading