I spent the evening with my nephews. This is something that is simultaneously so wonderful and yet heartbreaking for me.
It is wonderful because, well, frankly I just plain needed it. The older of the boys has always been a bit more open with me, despite not really knowing me, but has still remained kind of hesitant. The younger one has never really given me much of a chance at all. If I tried to talk to him he would seek shelter from another adult, if I tried to hug him he pulled away etc. Tonight was different. VERY different. Both boys talked to me, a lot. We all played together, and laughed. The younger one even snuggled up with me on the couch. We had been upstairs playing when time to leave rolled around. The older one came downstairs with me, but the little one stayed upstairs. We did not leave right away, and a couple minutes later I heard the younger one at the top of the steps sniffling. I looked up and saw him pouting and crying and asked what was wrong. He said “I miss you.” Yes, a toddler possesses the power to rip my heart to shreds with those three little words… I had fun with them tonight, and again I just really needed that.
It was heartbreaking, though, because at the end of the day they do not really know me and I do not really know them; I am still not really a part of their lives. I adore those boys so much more than they will ever know. I want to be there more. I want to really know them. I want them to know I am Aunt Leah, not just “aunty” because they do not even know my name. I want to put aside this nonsense with their parents, not because I feel like it is best for us adults to do that but because it would be best for the boys. Unfortunately, that can’t happen if I am the only one willing to do that. And that is exactly how it is. The only reason for tonight’s visit was they needed to borrow something. The only visits that happen are when they need something, or on the couple of holidays/special occasions they are not going out of town for that they decide to invite us over, likely out of obligation more than a real desire for us to join them.
With this all being taken into consideration, it was indeed a heartbreakingly happy evening for me. One I will cherish till I take my last breath. The memories of tonight may fade from the boys’ minds, probably sooner rather than later… but they are etched into my very soul forever.