Wednesday, June 29, 2011 Finding my Tribe

Right now I'm feeling so lost. Legally I'm 'widowed' even though I never got to have 'the wedding'. My life is full of children, even though I never got to have a child of my own. Only a handful of people knew that Chris and I had actually been trying to have a baby for the last 10 months. At 38, I know that dream will now never come true.

But anyone who knows me will know that while I may be childless, my life has actually always been 'child-full'. I'm still the person my 17 year old 'niece', Jadeyn calls for help with her English assignments in her senior year of high school. And shortly I'm going to need another spare bed as nephew #3 (aged two) is already asking to do things 'with just you and me, not my brothers'.

So as a sort of young-ish but closer to 40 than 30, unmarried 'widow', without children and 'just an aunty' - where does that leave me in society? Where do I fit in? Where is my tribe?

That's where an online community of women who "love children that are not their own" comes in.

As well as the Savvy Auntie community, I'm also grateful that my sister continually recognises the importance of the roles of Aunties and other women in her children's life.

At nearly 6, nephew #1 is old enough to understand that Uncle Chris is gone. His Uncle Chris who taught him to play golf in the backyard, who supervised watching YouTube videos (and tolerated watching the favourite ones again and again and again, as five year olds tend to do, without complaint). His Uncle Chris who talked funny with his Canadian accent and said "Ant-ie" not "Ahnt-ie". His Uncle Chris who let him stay at home playing the wii if I had to go out and do something 'boring' like grocery shopping.

Considering he stays here so often (at least one weekend a month), my sister recognised the importance of his relationship with his Aunty and Uncle, organised for him to spend some time with a child psychologist to help him work through his grief. Together, he and 'Princess Clare' have been making a special journal to help him remember his Uncle Chris.

This week it's school holidays and for months we had planned for a visit during the second week. I was originally going to cancel because it was just too much for me. But having my nephews around and keeping that special bond is important. I can choose to get out of bed next week and realise that I'm not the only one with sadness and that there is a little boy out there who needs me right now as much as I need him, so that's what I'll do.

The Savvy Auntie book by the fabulous Melanie Notkin is a highly recommended gift for first-time Aunties. (She is an entrepreneurial mentor, and someone that I've been lucky enough to get to know as a friend through Facebook.)

As an 'old hand' at this, for me it wasn't about the content in the book (although the content is great and deals with everything from how to handle your sister's or best friends changing pregnancy hormones through to an amazing Savvy Auntini recipe). But it sits on display in my living room with pride, with it's gorgeously designed, hot pink cover giving me great comfort of knowing that I do have a place in this world.

1 comment:

  1. After backtracking to read the earlier post, I know there are simply no words that will alter your currently reality... sending hugs and best wishes from Central NJ for a wonderful visit with your nephews. -- Auntie ML Cottingham