Be an Aunt not a Mother

Be an Aunt not a Mother

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Before I was even born, I was an aunt. My oldest sister had my niece Shakayla and then 8 years later my parents decided to try for me and BAM !!! Then all of my siblings who are way older than me decided to have children. They each have a minimum of 3 children.

I have 17 nieces and nephews who are literally the light of my life. I have so many that I've decided not to be a mother. If you ask an aunt or an uncle "who is your favorite niece or nephew?" And they say no one. They are LYING! We all have our favorites or favorite. Mine is my niece Jia, but I call her by her middle name Zamani or by her nickname "Mama".

She was born on April 9th 2011 and has been lighting my heart ever since. We dance all the time to Cardi B and Taylor Swift. We eat junk food and do each others hair. We laugh and cry about the same things.

It's weird to be a teenager and wanting to hang out with a child than your friends but it's possible. Being an aunt is the best thing that could have happened to me.

You get to take care of these little people, watch them grow, and give them back at the end of the night?! It's fantastic!

My family is HUGE! When we all get together it's a blast. I won't be having kids in the future because I feel like there is more than enough kids to go around.

Everybody says that I'm crazy but I'm not. I've helped raise more than half of my nieces and nephews. I've been thrown up on, peed on, spit on, pooped on and kissed more times than I could count. I wouldn't trade them for the world but I wouldn't add to them either.

Imagine working your behind off all day! You've gone to class and work and you really need a break! Only to come home and take care of little people? Yeah no. I'm gonna have to pass.

I play with my nieces and nephews all the time. We go to the movies, and the mall, and out to eat. We have the best sleepovers, I give them whatever they want and at the end of the day ... I drop them off to Mommy.

It's a wonderful life. You should try it.

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The Thank You My Dad Deserves

While our moms are always the heroes, our dads deserve some credit, too.
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Dear Dad,

You’ve gone a really long time without being thanked. I'm not talking about thanks for things like opening the Gatorade bottle I couldn't or checking my tires when my car’s maintenance light is flashing, but rather the thanks I owe you for shaping me into the person I am today.

Thank you for teaching me what I deserve and for not letting me settle for anything less.

While the whole world was telling me I wasn’t good enough, you were there to tell me I was. Whether this was with boys, a friend, or anything else, you always built my confidence to a place I couldn’t build it to on my own. You showed me what my great qualities were and helped me feel unique. But most of all, you never let me settle for anything less than what I deserved, even when I wanted to. Without you, I wouldn’t be nearly as ambitious, outgoing or strong.

Thank you for giving me someone to make proud.

It’s hard to work hard when it’s just for myself, but so easy when it’s for you. All through school, nothing made me happier than getting a good grade back because I knew I got to come home and tell you. With everything I do, you give me a purpose.

SEE ALSO: 20 Things You Say When Calling Your Dad On The Phone

Thank you for showing me what selflessness looks like.

You are the prime example of what putting your family first looks like. If me wanting something means that you can’t get what you want, you’ll always sacrifice. From wearing the same t-shirts you’ve had since I was in elementary school so I could buy the new clothes I wanted, to not going out with your friends so you could come to my shows, you never made a decision without your family at the forefront of your mind. If there is one quality you have that I look up to you for the most, it’s your ability to completely put your needs aside and focus entirely on the wants of others.

Thank you for being the voice in the back of my head that shows me wrong from right.

Even though many of your dad-isms like “always wear a seatbelt” easily get old, whenever I’m in a situation and can’t decide if what I’m doing is right or wrong, I always can hear you in the back of my head pointing me in the right direction. While I may not boost your ego often enough by telling you you’re always right, you are.

Thank you for being real with me when nobody else will.

Being your child hasn’t always been full of happiness and encouragement, but that’s what makes you such an integral part of my life. Rather than sugarcoating things and always telling me I was the perfect child, you called me out when I was wrong. But what separates you from other dads is that instead of just knocking me down, you helped me improve. You helped me figure out my faults and stood by me every step of the way as I worked to fix them.

Most of all, thank you for showing me what a great man looks like.

I know that marriage may seem very far down the road, but I just want you to know that whoever the guy I marry is, I know he’ll be right because I have an amazing guy to compare him to. I know you’re not perfect (nobody is), but you’ve raised me in a such a way that I couldn’t imagine my kids being raised any differently. Finding a guy with your heart, drive, and generosity will be tough, but I know it will be worth it.


Dad, you’re more than just my parent, but my best friend. You’re there for me like nobody else is and I couldn’t imagine being where I am now without you.

Love you forever,

Your little girl

Cover Image Credit: Caity Callan

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It's Only November, DO NOT Cue The Christmas Music

"Why are people so quick to switch gears from October 31... to November 1st?"

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As I write this article it is early November. Crazy how we are already into November. For those of you who have two different personalities from Halloween to November 1, this is for you. Do not cue Christmas music in early November.

November is a really beautiful month if you take the time to appreciate it. Leaves continue to change, the temperature starts to drop, which means more coffee and hot chocolate! The NJEA convention is in early November, if you're an educator, future one, or if you're a current student, you are off these days, and of course, everyone is off for Thanksgiving. A time to celebrate what we are thankful for with our friends and family. Tables full of hot soups to warm our chilly bodies, turkey, creamy mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet cranberry sauce, an array of pies and desserts, you name it.

So why are people so quick to switch gears from October 31, a time to dress up, trick or treat and attend Halloween parties, to November 1st, a time that has become all about Black Friday and Christmas? We've lost the meaning of Thanksgiving. In my opinion, stores should not be open on Thanksgiving Day. As mentioned it's a day to spend with family. You can shop for those best deals and stand in line for hours the following day and days leading up to Christmas.

We live in a time where everyone is busy with their own lives and family, and it's difficult to get together with everyone's schedules. So on Thanksgiving, it's the perfect time to surround yourself with family and friends, enjoying a meal together, counting your blessings, showing gratitude and appreciation, and catching up on everyone's lives. Truly a day of Thanksgiving!

So I encourage all of you to prepare for Thanksgiving and focus on family, friends, and gratitude. Next time someone talks about Black Friday or Christmas before Thanksgiving, stand your ground, make your voice and the holiday of Thanksgiving be heard.

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