Today I found out I am an aunt times three. Its a bittersweet feeling because babies are always surrounded with posts of joy and excitement, but I don’t really know my brother and sister that have had these children. I always pictured myself as the fun aunt…but maybe I’m not really an aunt at all.
When we were younger my siblings and I used to go for Sunday dinners at my grandparents together. My brother and sister are 8-10 years older than I am and a product of my fathers first marriage. I looked up to them and was happy enough to see them once a week. Really it was the perfect arrangement because I got fun sibling time without the whole sharing everything part of it. As we grew older Sunday dinners became few and far between. We lost touch now and then. Eventually my sister came back into my life when she started working with my dad and then we started to hang out. I always wanted to be just like my sister. My brother also started to work for my dad, and when I worked with them on the weekends it felt like a real family. When I moved away for university a lot of things changed. My brother was living in a different city and my sister got pregnant so she wasn’t as interested to hang out with her little sister when she had her daughter. I was invited to my brothers wedding but after that he disconnected from my family. I tried to reach out to both my sister and brother in my own way by sending holiday and birthday cards, but I never got any back. Eventually I stopped sending them, I thought that maybe they would notice something was missing. They didn’t, or if they did they didn’t care to address it. My sister had a second daughter I have never met. I was the last to know when she got engaged. I thought it would be easier to stop reaching out for them, but it wasn’t. Because of social media they were still there and present in my life, liking pictures of mine now and then, but I couldn’t bring myself to delete them because they are family. What if something happened and I needed to get ahold of them? Then something did happen. Our grandpa passed away. For a few days over the visitation and funeral service it felt like I might have some support. My brother and sister came to both events, although my sister essentially ignored me, my brother and his wife came over to ask if I was okay and were actually emotionally supportive. My brother even promised to keep in better touch and that he would have my grandma and I over for a Sunday dinner just like good old times. I felt like he meant what he said and that him and his wife would be there for me and we could have a relationship. Days, weeks, months passed and nothing. No happy holidays or birthday greetings. I could get over them ignoring me but I was upset at what this had done to my grandma – she was alone in the world after 60ish years and they couldn’t even have her over for dinner after all the meals she made for my brother. I found out through social media that my brother and his wife were expecting a child awhile ago. I found out today (through social media, surprise!) that he was born yesterday, healthy and as cute as newborns get. As much as I wanted to continue on my path of ignoring them, I couldn’t do it…I couldn’t bare to not congratulate them. Sure I was happy for them, but I also wanted to say hey I’m here and I could have been more of a part of this if you had bothered to keep in touch. I really do want to be the cool aunt. They said they want to have me over to meet him. I’m not keeping my hopes up, but who knows…people say that having children changes you.