Friday, March 2, 2012

My Children, Too...sort of

Prior to getting married, my husband and I had lengthy discussions about whether or not we truly wanted to have/adopt/foster children. Both of us are the first born of three, he with two brothers and me with a bro and a sis. Life as the first born is both delightful and frustrating for various reasons, but suffice it to say, we ultimately decided we were not going to have children.

Not that I owe anyone other myself and my hubby an explanation, but for the mere fact that I appreciate full disclosure - we both like children. However, the decision has more to do with the fact that we are avid world travelers, entrepreneurs - yeah..we're kinda selfish of our time together, and we're both a bit over 30.

Fortunately for me, I am uber close to my siblings, each of whom have adorable children. Subsequently, and because I am an AMAZING AUNT, my brother and sister have allowed me to have a close relationship with my nephews and nieces. To be honest, as much as I like to portray myself as professional...nothing reduces me to a giggling pile of girly than hearing:

"Aunt Ash is a gooberhead!"  

Blurted out in melodious burst of laughter from the back seat of my car lets me know that my love of Andy Gibb is not only NOT shared by 14, 13 and 11-year-olds...and that I am NOT COOL. I will always prefer The Bee Gees to Bieber and I will always, always crave these moments!

So it's no surprise that, last weekend, when I received a call from my sister asking if my youngest niece could come for a visit...I was thrilled. My niece is now 11, but I nicknamed her "Pookie" when she was still making my tiny little sister look like an olive on a toothpick!

A visit from Pookie includes several activities including crafts, cooking, swimming, shopping, eating and chatting (lots of eating and chatting!) and walking our Beagle, Puddin' Pie. I am always exhausted, but exhiliarated after a Pookie visit. This visit was no different. Pookie was on a make a very special cake for her mommy's milestone Birthday.

Pookie and I went from store to store to find the perfect decorations, food coloring and flavor. We talked about the flavor and that the cake should be gluten free. I listened to her chatter about how she wanted to make the actual cake purple and the icing should be lavender and how pretty the sugar sheets would look on the side. Having those moments with her, planning and creating her mommy's cake, were absolutely priceless and I can never savor those moments enough. Luckily, I know there will be other moments, even though  I can see her becoming a teenager before my eyes.

No matter how old she gets, I hope to still be the Aunt Ash she misses and wants to spend time with.

Although I am in that moment, I can't help remember another little girl who spent a lot of time with me when I lived in Nashville during the 1990's. That little girl, my very first niece, whom I took on rollercoaster rides at Opryland in the Summers when she was only six or seven is now 23...a grown woman. I relished those moments with her as a little girl and appreciate the relationship I still have with the strong young woman she has become. Yes, Britty-Boo, I mean you!

Interestingly, after posting this blog, I found a picture of Britty-Boo and me from back in either 1992 or 1993 and I am going to scan and post it if I can ever stop bawling every time I pull it out of the drawer!

It often occurs to me that I am fortunate to be able to spend the one-on-one time with each of my nieces...and nephews. Although, the boys are now teens and have infinitely more interests than being around me!

I have 'Uncle Mark' to thank for allowing me a lifestyle that gives me flexibility to have time with these precious little people. 

Even though Mark and I don't have our own, we feel blessed that we are able to experience the love of these children and the moments we get to share in their wonderful life adventures. I may not be cool, but I am loved.

I have my sister and brother to thank for including us in that...and I am grateful.

May you be lucky enough to share in a little person's life. It's truly a blessing.

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