Six months ago we were given the news that there was to be a brand new family member entering the world and, two weeks ago, he finally arrived making me an OFFICIAL Auntie for the first time.
I say ‘official’ because I’ve been an ‘unofficial’ Auntie for some years, to the children of friends. Not a real Auntie, not the type you’re bound to by DNA, but a Fake Auntie, bound by love (and hours of silliness together).
(Now, technically, I’m not actually biologically connected to “J” as he’s Ben’s nephew, but y’know, family is family, and this little boy is a part of mine).
In the lead up to the birth, in the final weeks of his sister’s pregnancy, Ben was so excited; it was actually really lovely to see. He’s not one for grand emotional gestures, but his anticipation of this new little life was so genuine that I couldn’t help but watch his eyes light up as he said time and time again, “It doesn’t seem real; my sister is going to be a mum!”
Having gone through several friends pregnancies alongside them my baby knowledge is fairly good, but I still often found myself reading articles online, seeing what was being said on sites like Mommy Authority and Mumsnet, pouring over blog posts and cooing at the InstaStories of people I follow who were pregnant too. I find pregnancy so amazing and I love being alongside my friends as they experience it, as hard as it is for me sometimes, knowing that it’s unlikely it will ever happen for me. (I might write a separate post on this some time…)
Once Christmas arrived we knew it wouldn’t be long until J was here too and, on the edge of our seats we waited for the call or text that would tell us the wait was over. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait long and in the early days of 2018 he arrived, healthy and beautiful.
We met him for the first time when he was just 5 days old. He was sleeping when we arrived so I watched him for a while in his Moses basket, wondering what he could possibly be dreaming about when he had been part of this world for no more than 140 hours.
A feed, a nappy change, a cup of tea and a chat and then it was our turn for a cuddle. Ben went first and despite initially seeming a bit unsure of how to hold him, settled into it nicely, looking every inch the doting Uncle and I took the opportunity to take some photos – after all, you only get one first cuddle.
Then came my turn. I’ve always been slightly frightened of holding other people’s children. Taking the thing that is most precious to them in the world and having it rest in my arms is nothing short of terrifying, but having got a fair bit of practice in with Rocco, my desire to hold my actual nephew outweighed any fear I had.
It sounds so very obvious but what struck me the most about sitting there, this brand new little person in my arms, was how tiny he is and how much is yet to come. The tiny hands that will one day learn to draw and write, to play computer games and drive a car. The tiny little fingers wrapped around one single digit of my own. The impossibly tiny fingernails. The little feathery eyelashes. The mouth mimicking the suckling of a feed; the most natural instinct in the world, not taught but built into us. And the feet. The tiny baby feet, not yet used – not to be used for a good few months more – but soon to be so utilised that we take little-to-no time to think about them. They will carry him on his first unsteady steps, through his years at school, during his commute to work, across counties and countries as he has adventures, and one day back down the aisle with the love of his life by his side.
He is so brand new with so much ahead of him – a blank canvas of a future – and that is something pretty amazing.
Welcome to the world J, we’re going to have so much fun together!
* In Association With Brand *