I became an aunt today, just like that. No credit to me of course. It’s strange, there’s a baby in the family and it isn’t me anymore. That’s a good feeling. For many years now I’ve been saying that I have grown up, and that I am an adult. Now I have tangible proof to go with the claim. So, at least for a bit I will not be kept on close watch.
This baby is now my ruse out of supervision. I already feel like the kid is my partner in crime. See, the baby forced me to address my maturity, as an actual concept and not just as a great adjective to describe myself while trying to convince my parents to let me do something that may be immature. I started to look at myself differently when the announcement came that I was going to be an aunt.
I’d like to point out that there is a difference between ‘aunt’ and ‘aunty’, an aunty might refer to someone who is boring, spouting unnecessary advise and a quite intrusive person, at least in India it brings to mind someone who you’d like to avoid. The other kind of ‘aunt’ or ‘aunty’ is an elder woman not from your family, or a parent’s sister. I have always been ‘aunty’ in the first definition, but today I am also an ‘aunt’.
I wondered what my role would be for that child, who knows nothing yet about our family, and has entered this world with absolutely no frame of reference. I wondered, would I be even slightly important to that kid? Would that kid eventually hate me, or avoid me? But then I realised, it didn’t matter. Unfortunately or fortunately the kid’s stuck with us. It’s not so much about the kind of aunt I want to be, but the kind of person I want to be around that kid.
I suppose I am conflicted because I am at that point where I am not old enough to call myself wise, and I am not young enough to call myself innocent. It’s different where I am, looking at my sister who is seven years older than me. It’s like looking into the future, but one type of future. My sister has always been a sort of window into what lies ahead.
Now that the kid is here, I am not sure what I am going to do. It’s one more change that’s come my way. I am not sure what it means. I don’t think I will be that aunt who coddles, who talks in baby language. I already know that. I saw the picture and my heart filled up, I wanted to tell the world. That’s my reaction. I know I won’t always be there. I don’t know where I will be, because I am at a turning point. As I discover more of the world, I don’t know if I’ll be here while I do that.
I guess, it’s not something I am used to yet. It hasn’t fully sunk in. I am happy, but I am confused. There is still time, and that relieves some of the doubt. As life picks up speed, I can only say that I don’t want to be left behind in my own life. What this kid did, was bring my life into centre stage, the life I didn’t think about, a part of my life I didn’t want to address and left on the sidelines. I have been picking up one part of my life and running with it, thinking that it’s enough. This was because, I didn’t know what to do with the other part.
Now, I have to run with all of it. It’s daunting, but now I feel it’s possible. I thought my analysis coming together mattered more, that me being able to justify my research is the most important thing. I forgot to ask myself about how I feel about being an aunt, about my family. I was making space for my future but pushing aside my past and present.
I am not yet the aunt I want to be, but now I am realising it’s not about being the aunt I want to be, but the aunt I should be. I suppose this is a partnership, the kid will let me know, I only need to listen. I also know my USP, because the kid’s going to have multiple adults telling her what’s best for her. I have been there and I know what that feels like, so I don’t need to be the solid adult. Luckily for her, I am an adult, just not adult enough. Maybe that will be enough for her even if it isn’t for me.