I always wanted to have kids. I didn’t dream about my wedding day. But I did dream about my marriage, my husband, my little ones. Heck, when I was young, I carted around my Cabbage Patch Kid on my chest in a baby carrier. So, when my sis-in-law got pregnant with our first niece, I was ecstatic.
When I announced that I was going to be an aunt, one of my students told me that she called her aunt, “Tia,” which means “aunt” in Spanish. Since I was a Spanish Teacher, I thought it would be neat for my nieces and nephews to call me that. And my sis-in-law agreed.
So, my first niece, Chanistie, officially made me Tia on Friday the 13th. I thought this was totally awesome since my birthday is on the 13th as well. Little did I know how important becoming a Tia would be….
During my hubby and my infertility struggle, my sis-in-law gave us two more nieces—Cayla and Jillian. In fact, I had endometriosis surgery the week Jillian was born. But that didn’t stop me from going to the hospital and holding my third niece. I was so happy to be her Tia, but I still desperately wanted my own little to call me Mommy.
As I continued through my infertility battle, I clung to special moments with my nieces. My hubby and I bought too many presents, had special days with them, went to dance recitals, and never hesitated to correct the girls if they were doing something wrong.
And my sis-in-law let me do it all and never made me feel out-of-place, unwelcome, or unwanted. She let me love on those girls (and still does), trusted me to let them travel with us, and never once got upset when I disciplined one of them. And I will never be able to fully express how much all of this has meant—and still means—to me.
After one of our special days with the girls, I wrote Christel a note to thank her for allowing us to spend this time with our nieces. I remember telling her that I might never know the craziness of being a mom with three kids–the exhaustion, the noise, the stress. But I went on to say that she would never know the quietness of a home without littles. And I thanked her for allowing me to be such a huge part of the girls’ lives because it helped fill part of that void. It helped keep my heart from completely breaking apart.
I’m not sure my sis-in-law or my nieces will ever really know how much they mean to me. To be Chanistie, Cayla, & Jillian’s Tia is one of my greatest joys in life. I have no doubt that God not only chose these kiddos for my sis-in-law, but for me as well. And this feeling is absolutely incredible….