My mom is the one who called it.
“Jenny’s going to have the baby soon,” she told me on Thursday, after showing me a picture my sister-in-law had posted of her belly on Facebook.
My sister-in-law, Jenny, wasn’t due for another two weeks (she was scheduled to have a C-section on March 2), but, in that photo, I saw that her belly had dropped pretty significantly since the last time I saw her and she looked ready to pop.
“I don’t think she’s making it to March.”
I agreed with my mom, but I did not expect to be holding my new nephew in my arms a mere two days later.
Dominic Jacob, my brand-new nephew, came into the world on Saturday, February 21, weighing 8 lbs, 6 ounces. He has chunky cheeks, arm and leg rolls, and a wonderful set of lungs. He is the spitting image of what my nephew, Jovy, looked like as a newborn. He is perfect.
There’s really something special about being an aunt. Our bond is so much different than that of a parent or a grandparent. Since my nephews have two other aunts, I’ve had to figure out where my place is. What is my role? How am I going to connect with my nephew(s)? The truth of the matter is that I’m not much of a kid person, which is funny because I worked in a preschool for almost three years. But I’m just not. I think kids are great and fun and wonderful… but I just don’t connect with them. So I’ve had to figure out this aunt thing… what it meant for me, what I wanted it to be. And I’m still figuring it out because it changes with each new stage and age. Right now, with my oldest nephew, I’m here to have fun. I’m here to listen and let him be heard. I’m here to joke with him and introduce him to books and reading. I’m here to help him when he needs it, but let him have independence. I’m just always here. I may not be the most outspoken and I may not be the one he goes to when he needs comfort, but I’m always here. That’s my role.
It’s astonishing to me that it was six whole years ago that I stood in a hospital room similar to the one I stood in on Saturday, holding my first nephew for the first time. I was 20 years old, intent on gaining my degree in education, and in my final teaching internship. (It would be a month later that I left that internship.) These six years have seen so much growth, both for me and obviously for my nephew. Now, he’s got this whole life of his own! He has best friends and favorite TV shows and movie quotes he spouts off. He is funny and smart and silly. He can read and write and even teach me how to play games on his Nintendo Wii.
Maybe I was the only one, but I was nervous to see how he would react to his little brother. He’s been the only child for six-and-a-half years… would he be jealous of Dominic?
Oh, but this boy loves his little brother. He loves holding him. He pats his back when he’s crying. He shushes people who are talking too loudly when he’s sleeping. On Sunday, when we were all at the hospital again, he was holding his brother and said to my sister-in-law, “I am happy the baby is here” (pointing to Dominic laying in his arms) “and not in there!” (pointing to Jenny’s belly). Total adoration.
Dominic is going to adore his big brother and his big brother is going to adore him right back. Dominic is so blessed to have that boy as his big brother. I hope they always have that adoration for one another. The sibling bond is such a strong one. I have always adored my big brother. Even though we fought like crazy growing up, he’s always been one of my closest friends and favorite person. There’s really no way to describe the strength of our bond. We’ve gone through so much together and he’s always been there for me. He’s been my protector, my life coach, the one who will always stick up for me. Things are not rosy all the time. We still fight. We don’t see eye-to-eye on everything. But I know he always has my back and I always have his. So I’m really excited to see my nephews’ bond grow because I know how special the sibling bond is.
I just can’t wait to watch this new nephew of mine grow up (though, please, Dominic, take your time!) I’m so excited to see how he differs from Jovy. Will he be more laid-back? More serious? More of a daredevil? More outspoken? I can’t wait to find out.
Welcome to the world, Dominic Jacob. You are so very loved and so very adored. All I want for you is what I’ve always wanted for your brother: I want you to feel free to express yourself in any way you want. I want you to feel loved. I want you to know you can do anything you set your mind to. You have a wonderful mother and father who love you fiercely. You have two grandmas and a grandfather who would do anything for you. And you have three aunts who completely adore you. We all want you to be happy, to be healthy, and to set the world on fire. I’m behind you 100 percent. Love, your Titi Stephany.