Every time someone asks me if I like kids, I have to pause and say: "It depends."
Are we talking about your kids? Are we talking about the small children screaming at the doctor's office? Or are we talking about the three precious angels that call me "Aunt Robin?"
Being the baby of my rather large family, I've watched others grow as I did, but being an Aunt has taught me a whole different kind of growth, love and carefulness without having to be a caregiver or mother. Before, I would babysit and would make the babies at the grocery store smile, but I would also be that person who, when hearing a screaming baby would say, "someone better get that baby."
There is constant growth happening within my family these days, so I am experiencing pregnancy and child birth and newborns all while also having a 19-month-old niece and a 7-year-old niece. I am learning hormones differ with each mother, so pregnancy can be beautiful or very scary.
I am watching new mothers form and returning mothers with a family of four leave with a family of five. I'm learning to be cautious these days about who touches the baby, considering most of my family members had to get a vaccine to hold the child.
Also, everyone should vaccinate their baby—don't be dumb. If you don't, you better pray you don't get caught when your un-vaccinated kid gets mine sick.
I became an Aunt in 2011 when my first niece Paytyn was born. I was only about 14-years-old, so my duties were slim to none, except for the occasional diaper change or late night walk until she fell asleep. At the time, I had no motherly instincts, so when I held her for the first time I was incredibly nervous and ended up only having her for five minutes.
As she grows, my care for her just keeps increasing by making sure she's taken care of, happy and safe. Anytime I see a small child now, I comment on it. I talk in this horrible baby voice, and I creep myself out, honestly. The fact that I now notice the kids in my life and want to make them smile lets me know my cold hearts warms for something.
To see me as a mother is to look 10 years into the future.
That above statement has just recently changed from 'No kids whatsoever' to 'Yes, I'll have kids, just not anytime soon.' I can picture a mini-me running around; I just can't picture their other half yet.
Watching my girls (my nieces) grow has inspired me to be more of a role model. I know they look up to me, more so now because they're getting older. I want to be the hard-working Aunt that goes to random places and brings home gifts—I'm working towards being her.
The love, time and little words I receive from my nieces mean everything to me. I am my 19-month-old niece's God-mother, so I feel an even bigger responsibility to hold her to the moral standard of our religious background, causing me to be more dedicated. Win-win.
Raegan Christine and I share many things: initials, middle name, sassy attitude, hairstyle. My nephew, Baby Jax, isn't even a month old yet but looks and acts so much like my brother! I'm so in love with him and my brother's family.
Being an Aunt has taught me to be a "slight parent," which is merely just being an example to them as they grow. I know they will be everything and more in their life; I just can't wait to watch it happen! It's shown me the love I know I'll have for my kids one day, the undying passion for them to have everything their hearts desire and for them to be as happy as humanly possible.
I have a long life to live and kids will follow, but for right now, I am Aunt Robin: the college student who loves her nieces to death!