The Greatest Gift Of All

I can’t remember a time when you haven’t both been an integral part of my life although it was as small babies that you both sneaked in and overnight I became Fabulous Auntie D. I certainly wasn’t ready for the practicalities of two small children even if they did look like little angels whilst behaving in a manner which dictated otherwise. Image (11) I fumbled my way through several of your younger years learning as I went along with a spoonful of Calpol for you and a few more for me. Even now disposable nappies remain one of life’s great mysteries for me along with pushchair assembly. Whatever lessons you learned from me, I learnt a shedload more from you. You taught me the joy of discovery and the delight in simple pleasures like finding a caterpillar amongst the clover. There were many tears and tantrums and you had a few as well but along with those were moments of pure joy which I will hold in my heart forever.

I recall your first days at nursery and how reluctant you were to leave your new-found friends at home time. Your first unsure steps at your new school, wearing uniforms that were much too big for you and when at the gates you looked back at me for reassurance, I beamed a smile that didn’t quite match the lump in my throat.

As you grew into teenagers, our once easy relationship deteriorated into door slamming and overnight I became a “life ruiner”Image (4) as my darling little girls were replaced by unrecognizable strangers who spoke an unfamiliar language that I couldn’t comprehend. I was no longer a super hero but a mere mortal who had somehow lost her Mary Poppins status overnight and neither was I practically perfect in every way anymore. Suddenly I was out of a job; just like that, leaving a hole in my heart the size of Yorkshire. Although inevitable, it was hard discovering that I had been discarded for shopping trips to the mall and ice skating with your buddies.

I watch you now imagining the amazing young women that you will become and wonder what will you remember? The all-weather picnics, our special cinema days, camping in the back garden or the Christmas Day lunch when we all sat down to eat with nit mousse in our hair.

As you continue your journey into adulthood, my wishes for you are jewelled rainbows after heavy rain, a hand to hold in time of need, a sighting of land after a journey on a stormy sea, a shining light to help you find your way home and a heart that beats in time with your own. But know this, you will always be my little angels and I want you to understand that wherever you go and whatever you do, I will always be here whenever life is unkind to you because at the end of the day that’s what aunties do best!

old laptop pictures 027

54 thoughts on “The Greatest Gift Of All

  1. Sadly, that feeling of no longer being Mary Poppins (or some similarly super-awesome magical being) is familiar to me too, with my little little sis. And sadly, she still refers to me and my other sis as her “half-sisters,” a distinction we never made for her.

    I dunno if you ever plan on it, but that feeling of wonder is even better when they are your own.

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  2. As an Auntie, too, I remember those door-slamming days, but several years ago, my now-grown niece reached out to me across an ocean, and we became friends as well as family. I photographed her wedding and we keep in touch via phone and Facebook. She has two adorable young sons, and they know me as Aunt Jenny, unfortunately only long distance so far. I’ll have to rectify that. But I hope this reassures you that your nieces will come around eventually. They may have other things on their minds now, but deep down, they’ll never forget their super Aunty. btw, they look gorgeous in those blue gowns.

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    • I think we would both agree that being an Auntie is one of the best jobs in the world, but I’m hoping that like your relationship with your niece, ours will improve once they’ve got those terrible teenage years out of the way. And the posh frocks were taken when they went to their prom!

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  3. These sentences could refer to any mother, aunt, anywhere. You have so perfectly captured our sudden irrelevance (and the hole left is hard to fill). Beautiful post, Dallas. Heartfelt and universal. – Kaye

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  4. Lovely, Dallas – as are the girls. I know your feelings well as I have a son who pulled away from his mommy in order to no longer be a mommy’s boy. He’s 26 now and coming around nicely. 🙂 They do mature.

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  5. Aw man, I’m having kind of an emotionally fragile day and this totally made me cry! In a good way though. What a sweet blog post. It made me wonder if I did the same thing to my aunties. But now I’m grown up and we have chats over endless cups of tea and email, so I guess it all works out in the end. Atleast you’ll always have those Mary Poppins days.

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  6. Don’t worry Dallas, it will all come back around. The teen years are angsty (I made that word up) but they pass. When they pass they remember all the wonderfulness of their aunts and the closeness they had. I have flocks of nieces and nephews, little sisters who are 25 and 26 years younger, they are obviously all adult now and having their own babies. We passed through the disturbing teens and moved on.

    I loved the pictures. What a wonderful and loving tribute. Some day in the future you can show this to them, they will feel bad for their teenage meanness. They will treat you to lunch and shopping trips to the mall. You will see.

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  7. Your beautiful tribute to your nieces made me teary Dallas! Have no doubt they are aware how fortunate they are to have an aunt as special as you 🙂

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  8. Wonderful post, Dallas. Yes, aunts are so special. I could tell my favourite aunt things I would never tell my parents, and she understood me so well. I really miss her. Your nieces are beautiful.

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  9. What a lovely post! I have identical twin nieces, aged 9 – and they still run to me in delight when I walk in the door. I’m wondering how long it will be before I join the ranks of “the elderly” in their eyes 😉

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