To my darling nieces,
I have just returned from another wonderful afternoon with you and wish I could convey how full you leave my mother’s heart every time I come away. I am brimming, bubbling, effervescing with the sheer joy of having spent time in your company.
One day I will tell you just how precious every one of your smiles, every cuddle, every giggle is to me and how deeply your love moves me. You won’t know now that being with you, being loved by you and letting me love you soothes and heals the hurts I carry, as Uncle Joe and I walk out our dark valley place. You won’t understand yet that this barrenness, this ache, is made easier because you both exist in my life. You have given us so much as we navigate the yawning void of childlessness. Every single day I am thankful for the gift that each of you is to us.
From before either of you had arrived into this world we had been hoping to bring about dark-haired cousins to grow up alongside your fair beauty. Your generous parents have allowed us to participate in your lives and we revel in every minute we spend with you. To you, I’m just Silly Auntie Helena; Aunty Fun who loves to laugh and play daft games, roll around on the floor with you or encourage you to bounce and screech loudly to express the pure joy of being young, energetic and full of carefree life. You indulge my crazy and I’m so grateful when you join in. But for me, I become a lioness when I’m with you. I love you fiercely as if you were my own and I delight in every single thing that you do. Every spontaneous hug or kiss, every picture you present me with, every strop, every conspiratorial whisper at the dinner table or hissy fit because I have to go home is pure joy to me.
When you were tiny and my body newly-ached each month to be creating life, it was your spontaneous hugs or demands to be carried which kept me sane. When I tried my best to hide my grief and loss, it was the everyday pleasures of taking you out of your cot, giving you a bath or changing your nappy that helped to push those dark clouds away for a little longer. You cannot know how healing your very existence has been to me. Even now when you climb onto my lap to read a story or lead me by the hand to show me your latest endeavour, my heart bursts rainbows of happiness because you see me and you want to include me in your world.
When I first held each of your tiny sweet-smelling bodies for the first time; all milk-drunk and sleepy, it was with such wonder that anyone could be so perfect. You are precious treasures; priceless gold in the eyes of this beholder. And when your time as angsty teenagers begins and you come to me with wounds to nurse from the mean girl in your class who has been teasing you, or the thoughtless boy who has made you feel worthless, I will hold your sweet faces in my hands and I will tell you that you are the brightest gifts that the world has ever seen. I will remind you that the impact you hold began right back at the very beginning, before you could do very much for yourself at all. I will tell you that we already harbour years and years of beauty and joy and wonder and delight at the many amazing talents, gifts and skills you possess – and no playground huff or failed exam will be able to take that away from you. Your worth is already hidden in our Heavenly Daddy – the one who lent you both to us so that we could also share in His delight at your creation. And even though I may be nothing more than your out-dated, silly aunt who makes you cringe by then, I will remind you that the joy of your existence is stored up safely in our hearts forever and nothing will ever steal that from us.
I will always be praying protection over your health and your hearts. I will be thanking God that he gave you to us for as long as I have breath. I will be praying that you come to know Him intimately in your very own sweet, special and unique way, and that you will be the best version of yourselves that you can possibly be. When you doubt your place in the world, know that we, your family, along with all the stars in the sky and all the angels in heaven are joyously enjoying your worth and cheering you on. You are so much more than enough and we delight in you every single day.
I love you so very much.
With big squeezy hugs,
Your Silly Auntie Helena xx