I got the coolest present ever for Christmas. Her name is Victoria Elena. She is my niece. Sometimes we call her ‘Veev’ for short.
Having a new niece, hanging out with her, and then having to leave her got me thinking about all this aunt business. What does it mean to be an aunt? What kind of aunt am I? I asked Veev, but she just made gurgly noises. So then, I thought I’d consult the internet and shared my findings, but that seemed impersonal. After all, I’m not just anybody’s aunt. I’m Victoria’s aunt. Long story short, I decided to write her a letter, and the letter turned out to be a great introduction to my family and life with Victoria, so I decided to share it with you (because I know you must be super curious).
Welcome to the family. I hope you’ll like being a part of our loud, dramatic bunch as much as I do.
One of my favorite things about our family is that I grew up getting mothered from all directions. I mean, of course there was my mom who was most in charge of my care and feeding, but then I had my aunts. They took care of me in all sorts of ways. One time your Aby (my aunt Marthita) snuck me out to trick-or-treat! Menry once took me to Cancún! Minou taught me to make tofu from scratch! Whenever I need something, I have lots of moms to rely on.
I love that all my mamis—some practical, some new age-y & all so, so warm & loving—are now your grandmothers. I can’t guess much about your life right now because you are a baby, but I can tell you that you will grow up being loved and respected. You will always have a team of people rooting for you and willing to help in whatever way they can. You will always have a book to read (and you will always have to hide that book from the rest of us because we are all voracious readers). Among that supportive, book-thieving group, there’s me.
Hi, I’m your Aunt Kiki. First, let’s get the boring stuff out of the way. Please don’t call me ‘aunt’ & please feel free to call me ‘kristy.’ I don’t plan on buying you video games or Barbie dolls…ever. I learned this Christmas (when one of your younger aunts asked me for boy advice and I just stammered), that I probably won’t be a good source of dating and relationship tips.
However, I’ll do anything with you—from playing video games to bungee jumping. And I make a solemn promise to turn off my TV/computer/phone/other electronic gadget anytime you ask. You may force me to karaoke, finger-paint no matter what I’m wearing, and eat obscene amounts of candy with you (but not tell your parents) whenever you want. And, while we’re at it, if I’m going to be an aunt like the ones I’ve had, I owe you many, many visits to Zara, about 200 books, and a couple of life-changing trips.
I met you on the 23rd of December of 2011. Right now your favorite past-times are being held by your mami, playing airplane with your papi, and having your diaper changed. You also enjoy having your tummy snuggled and your hair stroked when you need to calm down. My least favorite thing about you is that you force us to talk in incredibly high-pitched voices—you won’t smile otherwise. I wouldn’t mind it at all, except that it makes me talk like that to EVERYONE. When two or more people hang out with you, we end up squeaking like mice for an embarrassingly long time after. Don’t get me wrong, though, it’s totally worth it to see your gummy smile.
Speaking of gums, you just started teething and eating solid foods. Watching your mom feed you apple is my favorite thing in the world. First, she cuts the apple in half. Then, she sits in front of you and scratches the surface with a spoon. The morsel of apple mush she gathers looks tiny even on the end of a baby spoon, but you eat every bite slowly, carefully savoring the taste. Your mom is so patient with you. She’ll feed you a whole apple like this if you feel like eating it.
I drove away from you this past Friday, crying a little bit. At this point, I’ve spent the majority of my life away from Chihuahua. I used to cry anytime I left because leaving most of the people who know and love you is hard. I learned to keep my tears about this inside a long time ago, but I couldn’t help it this time.
I’ve baby-sat a fair share of babies in my day, so I know how fast you’ll grow up. Every day brings something new, and it sucks majorly that I’m going to miss so much of it.
When I left your house, I thought of all my past baby-sitting charges, how at some point, I had to say goodbye. I remembered how in Paris your aunt Caren sobbed during a performance of ‘Mamma Mia!’ (of all things) because she wouldn’t be there to watch her au pair charges grow up.
And then I had the dumbest epiphany of my entire life. It went like this, ‘Hey wait a second, Victoria is my NIECE. I get to know her forever!’
Talk about a big relief. I might not be the coolest aunt right now, but I get so long to figure it out, and I think this opportunity to forge a lifetime bond with you might just be what it means to be your aunt. I hope I do a good job, and I hope you are comfortable enough to tell me what you need from me. I want to be a really good aunt.
P.S. When I met you, I was fully prepared to change your diapers–even the poopy ones–but your mom and your Aby were like, ‘I got it!’ every time, and after a while I was like, ‘What kind of fool fights to change dirty diapers?’
Do YOU any have aunt-ing tips?