I do not have children. Hubby and I decided years ago that the world would be no worse in the absence of human Butler Brats, but could possibly be worse with the addition thereof. So I don't know first hand the excitement and heartbreak of raising a child.
I do, however, know how heartbreaking it is to watch a child you love grow up. My sister has two beautiful daughters. I am their only aunt - for the most part their only extended family period. I consider being an aunt to be one of the greatest things that's ever happened to me. Being a part of Mirney and Carebear's lives is a wonderful privilege. I watched them play t-ball as little bitty girls; watched them perform in the city's dramatic society. I've gone to band and orchestra concerts, Girl Scout dance recitals, helped to sell cookies and raffle tickets. I've taken them shopping, taken them to get their hair done or to get a makeover. I've taken them to see sandcastles on the beach. They made beautiful additions to my bridal party. I have not been in their lives every day, but I like to think that I have at least been a fixture in their lives.
I was a junior in high school when my oldest niece, Mirney, was born and was pretty much still a child myself. She was a wee tiny little thing at 21 inches yet less than 6 pounds. When Mirney was about 13 months old, my sister brought her family back to Houston and moved in "down the road a piece" from my mother and myself. Carebear was born just nine months later. We were constant babysitters. :-) I have tons of fond memories of throwing them in the air as children, taking them to parks and playing silly games on the living room floor.
How is any of that heartbreaking? Last Sunday, Mirney turned sixteen. She's still a funny and silly girl (which I TOTALLY love and hope she never outgrows), but she isn't so much into sitting on the floor playing silly games anymore. She doesn't believe the crazy, whacked-out stories I make up anymore. In just a few short years, she will be old enough to vote and will be going off to college and to start her own life. Her baby sister will be just 22 short months behind her. They've gone from being kids I carried on my hip to kids that are taller than I am. From having sweet little rolls of baby fat, to being elegantly thin and statuesque young women. Where'd the time go?
Mirney was a such a TINY baby!
The two most beautiful kids in the world! (I am NOT biased!!)