Although I have no children of my own, I am fortunate that children have been an integral part of my life. I have always loved children and started babysitting when I was 11 years old. When I was 17, I even babysat a two-week old and her two older sisters for a weekend when their parents flew out of state to look for a new home. That was harrowing!
My younger brother who lives in the same city as I do has five children ranging in age from 17 to 30. My older brother has two sons who grew up in Montana and now live in other states. Both are married and one has 5-year old and 2-year old sons. Although Covid nixed a family reunion we planned for Christmas 2020, I was fortunate enough to visit the little boys and their parents three times in 2020. Another blessing is an app called Caribu where I read to them. The app allows us both to see the book on our screens. They love hearing stories, and I love reading them, so it’s a perfect way for us to connect. They have little patience for a video call but will sit quietly for up to an hour listening to books.
I’ve been friends with a woman since we were nine years old, and I have been the goddaughter/aunt to her two daughters since they were born. When the girls were younger, my friend and I bought a house together and I helped raise the girls for seven years, including the dreaded teen years. The girls and I became very close as a result. They’re both married and both had babies within the last year – one boy and one girl. I was so honored when the younger niece asked me and her mom to walk her down the aisle at her wedding.
My nieces and nephews have always thought of me as the fun aunt, and we have created many magic memories together. The biggest consistent activity we’ve shared is skiing. We spent countless weekends over many years enjoying the ski slopes. We have had sleepovers and baking parties, gone hiking, attended parades, the Stock Show, music events, and done countless other fun things together. I’ve cheered them on at their activities, including sporting events, graduations, plays, concerts, and spelling bees.
I have taken each niece and nephew on a trip out of the country, including an African safari for two of them when they were 10 and 12, and taking many road trips to numerous locations. My brother’s five children and I once took a week-long trip that required two days of driving each way to get to and from Colorado and Wisconsin. On each trip, I learn more about whoever I’m with and we form a closer bond.
In addition to creating memories, I document the memories in the family. I’m the one with the camera taking the photos (sometimes remembering to get in a photo myself), and I’m also the one who makes the photo albums. I love seeing the nieces and nephews’ faces light up when they get an album from one of our trips or from a special occasion in their lives.
As I share offerings in the future, you will be seeing more of my family and getting to know them through my photos. I hope you enjoy this glimpse of them here.