Photo of a Black woman and a Black girl posing together, wearing stylish denim outfits.
Stock photo courtesy of AllaSerebrina / Depositphotos.com

I read this on Facebook and it really struck a chord with me: “Why aunts are so important in their nieces’ and nephews’ lives. Who says that grandparents and parents are the only important figures in a child’s life?  Aunts also play a very important role in the upbringing of their nieces and nephews.” I know I did. 

I remember the exciting time when I first became an aunt. I was about 15 years old. My sister was 18 at the time. She had just started a new job. 

The whole time that she was pregnant, I forgot that she was actually going to have a baby and that it would be the real deal. But I quickly got the hang of things after she had my niece, Dawn. 

I was so amazed! She was the most beautiful baby girl I had ever seen. She was tiny and soft. But most of all, she was mines. Automatically, I fell in love. My first niece. The only baby that I’d paid any attention to until then. I was happy, excited, thrilled.   

One day, my sister had to go to work and I had to babysit. I didn’t mind, I loved it. Because by then I thought that I had everything down pat. I knew when and how to feed her. I knew when and how to change her. I knew how to talk to her and rock her to sleep. I even sang to her a few times. But what a day for me that day of babysitting was: she just wouldn’t stop crying. I bathed and changed her. I fed and burped her. Nothing helped. 

I thought that I was doing something wrong. She may not have been my child, but every time she cried, I cried right with her. 

I rocked and walked her. She would eventually fall off to sleep, but then she woke up and began to cry again. So I had to do the same routine all over again. Remind you, I was all alone in the house. I didn’t want to bother my sister at work. But I had common sense to know that something was wrong and I had to do something about it. 

Dawn had a godmother that lived across the court from us. So I got Dawn dressed and over to her — to Mrs Dot’s house —  to see If she could help or tell me something. I’m sure you know how I felt by then, it being my first time as an aunt and all. I didn’t want to fail, but I had to put my pride aside and find out what exactly was going on with this baby. So I knocked on Mrs. Dot’s door and, thank God, she was home.  

I took Dawn inside and told Mrs. Dot exactly what was going on and how she wouldn’t stop crying. After she checked out Dawn, Mrs. Dot proceeded to look at me with a smile and said “Its OK Vennie, you haven’t done anything wrong. She’s fine, what she has is an ear ache.” She showed me how Dawn was pulling and tussling with her ear. Boy was I so relieved. 
So then I had no other choice but to call my sis and tell her to come take Dawn to the doctor. That was one of the most terrorizing days for me. I felt like she was my responsibility and that whatever she was going through, I was going through it, too. But all in all,l I got to the bottom of it.  

Today, I have plenty of nieces and nephews. I call them and they call me each month just to keep in touch and tell me they love me. Each and every one of them I love and show the same attitude: “I’m not Mommy, but I’m still here to protect and help you in any way that I can, if I can.”  

I try my best to keep them safe and out of harm’s way.  When something aches with them and I can’t figure out the problem, I ache too. But I definitely get to the bottom of things so we can make it go away or start to heal. I know I can’t always fight their battles for them and that I can’t fix everything that’s broken with them, but I always give it my all. I love my nieces and nephews just like my own kids. 

Sure, they all have mothers and grandparents. But there’s nothing like a good aunt to talk to every now and then to baby them up a little. I’m not just a good aunt, I am a GREAT auntie. And I’ve been called the favorite auntie plenty of times. I’m proud of that. I do my best. Don’t we all? Hope so. 

We’ll until next time take good care of yourselves and be safe out there.