Being a Nonbiological Aunt

Being a Nonbiological Aunt

Aunthood is really the greatest thing ever

About 4 years ago, I received the news that my best friend was pregnant with, not one, but two babies. In March 2014, I was blessed with two nephews. I was ecstatic to say the least. From the beginning, I have been Aunt Libby, a role I take on with enthusiasm. Even though I’ve lived 1,200 miles away from them their entire life, I have made an effort to be a part of their lives as much as possible.

Fast forward to the present, as of this week, my nephews are 3 and are now big brothers to my brand new niece. In all of my excitement, I have shared photos and details about her with pretty much anyone who will give me the chance. All these conversations have sparked reflection about the joys of being an aunt and how much I cherish it.

I get to spoil them

Visits must include a ride in the Jeep to get ice cream and usually some sort of gift bag with goodies. When I’m not visiting, a trip to Target is not complete until I have scouted the bargain and clearance sections for anything I think they need. This includes things such as punch balloons, Mickey Mouse socks, coloring books, or any other fun toys. I’m always on the hunt for their favorite character clothing or anything else their little heart might desire - because when they receive it, even the smallest gift, watching their pure, complete joy over it is freaking awesome.

I get to do kid stuff again and not look like a total weirdo.

Some of these activities include: going see a “kid” cartoon movie, running through sprinklers, and blowing bubbles. I get to unleash my inner child and play and watch them learn and use their imagination. There are just some things you can’t do without a kid and there’s kids I’d rather hang out with.

I love Facetiming them

I have been fortunate to be able to visit 3-4 times a year, but even a visit every couple months is never enough. I am forever grateful that I am able to Facetime with my nephews and talk with them and watch them grow from out-of-state. Being able to see them and talk to them makes being away just a little bit easier. Facetime allowed me to virtually attend the gender reveal to find out that I would be getting a niece. Facetime doesn’t compare to actually being there, it is a pretty close second.

I get endless hours of laughter, cuddles, and memories

When I visit we spend hours building forts out of blankets, going to the playground, and having tickle fights The hours spent working overtime to afford plane tickets and the time spent actually traveling is all absolutely worth any small amount of time I get to spend with them. I wouldn’t trade any of the time we’ve spent together for the world. Especially the afternoon napping cuddle sessions on the couch.

I love how much they love me

My nephews know that I love to play with them (and bring them cool toys) so every time I go to their house I feel like the most popular person in town. They are genuinely excited to see me. They ask about sleepovers and don’t want me to leave, even when I have to go. They truly love me unconditionally.

Cover Image Credit: Freshley Scented

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The Thank You My Dad Deserves

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

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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I Am Thankful To Have My College Friends

You know who you are.


Friendship is one of life's greatest joys. Thankfully, friendship ebbs and flows in every single part of a person's life. Whether we find our friends on our first day of kindergarten or the first day of college, true friends always support you in whatever your endeavors are. College can be intimidating enough, but I have no idea what I would do without my friends here at Longwood University. So here's to the friends that add to my enjoyment of college traditions and for helping me out with the stress of midterms.

I never initially feared the idea of college. I knew to expect the unexpected, but where making friends was concerned, I was just as unsure as the little kindergarten version of me starting anew in an entirely different school system. I knew some of my closest friends before college by the modern connection of texting and social media. Although I had no idea my friends and I would end up so close in so short of time.

For starters, it really helps that my roommate and I are practically the same person. We both have the same mindset about the true values of life, and we have each other's back as a result. She's one of my best friends in the whole world, so naturally, we have the same friend group. In all honesty, this surprising convenience kind of came as a blessing in disguise.

My friends are rambunctious and make me burst out laughing at the weirdest jokes at the strangest of times. We share everything, from what life is like back in our hometowns to random aspects like what our favorite color is. Although we know when to be serious, we always look out for each other, just to make sure everyone's alright.

However, as close as we are, my friends know when someone needs some space to breathe for a bit. The best part is that if someone doesn't understand, everyone is easy to approach to discuss the more stressful parts of our day to day college life. I love them to death for that because I manage to own my independence within a close-knit friend group like ours. My friends understand and accept me for who I am, and I thank God every day for putting them into the rambunctious mess that I call life.

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