I spent all of Sunday in the company of my little niece and my cousin whom I had not met in a year and half. Playing with my niece, feeding her, rocking her to sleep, I had no idea how the day passed. Before I knew it, it was time to go home. As she repeated everything I said, I felt pride swell in me. “I taught her to say that..” I thought. As my SIL and I visited a neighbor she remarked how my niece resembles me and I grinned from ear to ear like I had something to do with it. Every little interaction with her fed my ego.
On my drive back home I couldn’t help thinking how egoistic I was. If I, just an aunt felt this way, I wondered how parents felt. In some sense I could understand the parents who gushed like their child was the only one on earth who could do all these amazing things at the age of one. For once, I could be less sarcastic and cynical of adoring parents. All the things I used to cringe at – having one year olds put on the phone to say hello or babble or listening to hours of baby talk are now things I can relate to. I insist that my SIL put my niece on the phone and force the poor thing to say “Athai”. I can sit for hours babbling just like her and enjoying the moments of intimacy in the shared sounds. I cannot believe how much time I spend thinking of her.
On the other hand, when my cousin got into his car to drive away to take his first job, I felt like his mom. I wanted him to drive safe, call me when he reached and muttered a thousand blessings under my breath and hoped his life will be very successful. I also realized moments before sinking into sleep yesterday night that I did not have to be a biological mom to feel the weight of parenthood.