What Becoming An Aunt Taught Me About Love

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Aunt and nephew
With all the recent talk about childless women, can a niece or nephew actually inspire motherhood?

Last November, my nephew was born. I remember the trip to visit him in the hospital, his first day on this earth. The hallway to that hospital room was long and dim, and I grew tentative as I approached, hearing a rush of activity and visitors inside. When I entered, suddenly all eyes were on me. "Do you want to hold him?" my brother asked. And the next thing I remember is observing this tiny, perfect little human who was resting in my arms. 'Baby Fever' Is A Real Scientific Phenomenon

He didn't cry. He never opened his eyes. He just slept soundly near my heart, his little body rising and falling with every breath. As I looked at him, I knew:

This baby is going to change my life.

Suddenly, it all came back to me. Loving a baby was a natural skill. I congratulated the parents on their beautiful child, and I left the hospital a couple hours later understanding why so many women became mothers. It's a gift. And since last November I've discovered that being an aunt is one too.

In the months since my nephew was born, we've grown uniquely close. I am lucky to live within driving distance so, for the first time, I have a child in my world. I've watched him grow from a tiny infant, to an inquisitive baby, to a fearless toddler and now a joyful little boy. I've often mused that while his mom and grandma are his caretakers, I'm more like his buddy. We play with toys and wander the house together trying to walk, step by step. I tote him on my hip and show him the garden, the falling leaves, the chimes by the front door, the sun setting. His personality develops little by little, everyday, and my perspective on life—and my understanding of my role in the universe—evolves right along with it. 7 Ways To Make Motherhood Work For You

That's the great thing about being an aunt, especially if you are lucky enough to experience it before you become a mother. It's a taste of what's ahead, a perspective-changer. I see life as a step-by-step process and, like babies taking their first steps, we all progress at different paces. But it's important to think ahead, to anticipate the later steps while you're still mid-stride on the present one.

Also very importantly, being an aunt has highlighted, underlined and bolded my priorities as I search for romantic love. Mr. Right must have the qualities of a good father—sensitivity, commitment, flexibility, selflessness, strength and quiet confidence. He needs to be the head of the household, and be a caring dad, because that's the other thing about being an aunt. Although I'm a buddy most of the time, I'm also a caretaker when my nephew needs me. Your Future Husband? How To Decide He's The One [VIDEO]

I anticipate his falls. I give him hugs when he cries. I know when he's hungry, tired or just crabby from teething. Babies need non-stop assurance and patience... just like us. My nephew has given me one of the greatest gifts I will ever receive: an understanding of what it means to love.

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