New Piece of Writing: Auntship
Each week, I'll be bringing you a new piece of writing. This one is about being an aunt.
Each week I'll be bringing you a new piece of writing to fill in the People Wipe Me void. I'm doing this because I'm a Needy-Gonzales and I write better if I know there's an audience.
I also flatter myself that the pieces I write might be entertaining and thought provoking. Here's this week's helping.
On Being An Aunt
In recent years, my family gatherings have become an unfamiliar landscape. Babies hang from walls and trees. There are babies underfoot – with every step I run the risk of squishing a little creature.
The minefield I walk isn't just a physical one. Conversations are full of tripwires waiting to send me sprawling.
Apparently you're not supposed to say that a baby looks like Winston Churchill. And it turns out a two-hour labour isn't always a cause for celebration.
Changes in Family Landscape
Conversations are grounded. Anecdotes stack up like planes on a runaway waiting to take off, but clearance never comes. Instead, we circle the runway, looking at babies.
I find myself wistful for the family gatherings of old, the lingering conversations over delicacies from a farmer's market or a chef's kitchen. Now meals are smash and grab raids.
Photo Description: There is a baby on a white blanket, holding its head up. It wears a white T-shirt and has fair hair and blue eyes.
This is what happens when your niece and nephew count increases fivefold. In March 2018 I was an aunt to two nephews. Come summer 2023, I will be an aunt to 10 nieces and nephews.
Becoming A Cool Aunt
So, I dive into the chaos, and when I do, I stumble on little shards of joy. Making goose noises in a park. Playing peek a boo and seeing the delight on their faces as they reveal themselves to me. Sudden fierce hugs. Wearing silly hats.
As you might have gathered, I'm not the sort of aunt who'll wipe noses, change nappies or stick plasters on cut knees.
But I am the sort of aunt who'll blow raspberries on bellies, entertain with a repertoire of silly voices. Turns out I'm not too shabby at this aunt lark, as long as it's in short bursts.
Jane Austen regarded being an aunt as the most important role in her life – more important than being a writer. I'm inclined to agree. I'm a collector of sounds, and the sound of my new name, Auntie Derbhile, is a sweet sound indeed.
I'm looking forward to taking a ringside seat as I watch these little people grow up. If I play my cards right, some of them might even visit me in the nursing home.
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