Friday, December 23, 2016

Gray space

For a few years, during the hardest part of infertility and after, I couldn't enjoy kids.  It was just too painful.  Of course I slapped a smile on my face and pretended to enjoy myself, but really it was a lie. But that seems to be changing.

My middle niece, my youngest sister's middle daughter, is special to me.  She's nearly four now.  I was there when she was born.  I held her before either of her parents.  She's a really cool kid.  She's loud, busy, adventurous, uncoordinated, and sharp as a tack.  She's always been drawn to me.

Not surprisingly she was a source of great pain too.  An ever present reminder of everything we didn't (and later found out that we couldn't) have.  She was conceived right around the time I was starting to worry that having a baby wouldn't be as easy as tossing birth control.

When we did Christmas with my family I got to spend a lot of time with this particular niece.  She and I are both early risers.  On our last morning there, I was up before anyone else in the house.  She must have heard me, so she got up too.  We made breakfast together, apple pie and toasted cheese sandwiches, her choice*.   After breakfast we cuddled up in the recliner and read a few books together.  We spent at least an hour together before anyone else woke up.

I absolutely cherished this experience.  It felt so special to me, and I think to her too.  But it also left me longing for a little boy or girl of my own to cuddle.  Definitely a weird gray space of where I held happiness and longing at the same time.

The takeaway is that I'm having an easier time being around kids and enjoying it, and that makes me happy.

*When you're an aunt, you get the discretion to feed nieces and nephews whatever they want, so naturally apple pie was a perfectly acceptable breakfast choice.


  1. Ah, yes, I've had early morning cuddles with a niece, though she's now 25! And totally agree that aunts get to choose what to feed nieces and nephews, and what presents to give them. I've become the aunt who gives my littlest niece the things her mother won't. (Though I do usually seek prior approval. I still laugh at her reaction when she opened the high heels I gave her when she was about 5. "Finally!" she declared, looking accusingly at her mother!) This year it's the Harry Potter books.

    Yes, happiness and longing at the same time. That's the issue. I can tell you that the longing goes, in time. It might be replaced with a quiet regret, but I find I can fully enjoy my time with my littlest niece now, without thinking "I wish she was mine" or "I wish I had one like her."

    1. I'm the one who got the almost six year old started on her nail polish obsession. :)

      It's good to know that the longing lessens with time.

  2. I am very glad that you were able to have some special moments with your special niece.
    I know about the pain...
    Unfortunatelly I don't get many chances to spend moments with my nieces and a nephew. But when I do, it is always bitter-sweet. It always leaves me longing for a child of my own...

    lots of love.


  3. This is lovely to read, even if happy and sad at the same time... I guess we all know that combination too well. But I am glad that it's getting easier for you to be around kids!

    Wishing you happy holidays, BnB! Thanks for being YOU!

  4. The one benefit of being an aunt is getting to have these special food selections (and the special moments). I can see how this time with your niece would be a happy/sad moment. The fact you two are close (and growing together) is a special thing that no one can take from you. But I can also see how it would be a trigger.

    Thinking of you and sending hugs.

  5. Oh, the gray space, the happy/sad of those moments. I'm glad you had that time with your niece including apple pie breakfast (makes total sense to me) but thinking of you for how it reminds you of your losses.

    1. I'm a huge fan of the nontraditional breakfast! Plus, apple pie isn't the least unhealthy thing she could possibly eat. :)

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