Growing up, I always liked babies and loved to hold them. I was the "perfect little helper," my Aunt Marie would say. If you'd asked me if I wanted children of my own, I would have unequivocally said yes. "Maybe 4 or 5," I'd say, "but I'm waiting until I'm 30."
I turned 30 this year, and I don't feel ready to have children. Not not ready in the you're never ready sense, but not ready in the maybe I actually won't. I still love babies but me, a mother? The ticking time clock of my ovaries was starting to feel like a deafening bell ringing, "Do you want to become a mother or not?" It was a sweet winter weekend that taught me there might be room for both.
On February 15th, my brother's wife went into labor. Driving over, I anxiously checked my phone for updates. It was thrilling to know you'll have a new relative, a tiny new human in your life, and the news of it would arrive in a flash. Once the family assembled at the hospital, we waited. My brother would pop out of the maternity ward doors every hour or so and we'd leap from our seats, worry and excitement across everyone's faces. Energy was flying! Finally, the doors swung open one last time and he was here. Our little guy was born. He was soft and sweet, and each person took their turn to meet their grandson, nephew, cousin for the first time.
After a couple days of rest and recovery, my brother and his wife prepared to head home. While we packed up their bags, my brother invited my husband and I to stay through the weekend. "You don't want mom or dad?" I asked, stunned. "We want you two," he said. We spent 3 days together, all 5 of us, helping each other learn how to take care of a baby. We all woke up in the middle of the night when he cried, assembling like a troop around his bassinet. We consulted each other on the next best action, took turns changing diapers, swaddling, and flipping through the baby books to ensure that, no something wasn't wrong, his fluttering eyelids means he's dreaming. It was magical, a bit scary, and wondrous at once. So many tiny moments of whispering, "Hi, baby boy. I'm your Aunt Maggie. I love you."
Now 10 months later, after thoroughly enjoying my role as aunt, I'm still struggling with whether motherhood is in my future. But today, I've come to rest in the idea that being an aunt is like being a mother: you can help, play, teach, and most importantly love. Maybe one day I will become a mother, but maybe one day I won't and that's okay too. For now, I'm going to take each day and year as it comes. The idea of a little voice shouting, "Aunt Mags," is keeping my heart warm, and today, that's enough.
This was December's MR Writers Club submission for the topic: What’s a 2017 Moment You’ll Never Forget?.