In 2016, nearly two-thirds of Ontarians told a Forum Research survey that they’re either “extremely” or “very” happy with life. The overpowering theme to their happiness was their families. When I think about my own happiness, three tiny, incredible human beings come to mind — my nieces and nephew. These little kiddies are hilarious, honest and very strange, and I love them with all my heart. If there is anything better in this world than little, adorable humans who will love you forever – I have yet to find it. There are, in my humble opinion, five reasons why being an aunt is the best gig.
1 Aunt/unclehood redefines your own identity
From the exact moment that you hear the words, “you’re going to be an aunt!”, you begin this insane journey that will come to be an important one. I vividly remember the day when my first niece was born; waiting in the hospital, peeking through the doors, the excitement, the happiness and the anticipation to know the gender of the little peanut. After what felt like days, I stepped into the room and all I can remember was how obsessed I was looking at this tiny, delicate and extremely perfect little human being that took nine months to get here. When I held her for the first time, I remember thinking about how much this little baby is going to change my life.
2 You’ll spoil them rotten!
Random visits are always very special because aunts always come equipped with treats that are often off-limits in their everyday lives. (Disclaimer: On the off chance you do not bring treats, you will be hounded at the door as to where the Kinder Surprise is…) When moms and dads say “no”, aunts will always say “yes” and hand over a giant bowl of ice cream with sprinkles and chocolate sauce on top. And just think, when the sugar kicks in and chaos ensues, you get to give them back and go about your own life, leaving you feeling happy while sipping wine thinking about the next time you will see them.
3 Their love and affection for you only grows
You get to be a massive influence in their lives and that is a huge honour. When you see them, their little faces will light up with joy at the sight of you and you’ll be greeted with massive hugs and kisses — and I will tell you this: there ain’t anything better than toddler hugs. They’ll snuggle with you while watching Despicable Me for the “minion” time. They’ll tell you to call you “Your Majesty” after watching Frozen. They’ll create artwork that all the money in the world couldn’t buy. They’ll share literally anything with you; a juice box, a half-eaten soggy cookie, milk from their sippy cup or even their blanky — if you’re lucky. You will come to realize that you don’t have to be a mom or a dad to understand the meaning of selflessness and unconditional love.
4 Your smartphone camera is filled with joy and happiness
When I am having an off-day, I take a look at my phone and all the memories stored on it. From the video of my niece yelling my name to find her while playing hide-and-seek to the video of my one-year-old nephew walking like Frankenstein, taking his first few steps — one glimpse of a picture or watching a video will always put a smile on your face. With all of this documentation, you get to see them evolve into little adults and you really start to wonder how they got so big, so fast. Time, not money, buys happiness in this life.
5 You bond with your sibling(s)
As the family expands, your sibling(s) will stop texting and start calling you. They will FaceTime with the baby and they will send you a million pictures throughout the day – and you will love every single second of it. BONUS: You will get updated on the baby’s poop schedule, so that is also something to look forward to.
Real talk though: My nieces and nephew teach me so much about life. They teach me how to be a kid again and allow me to realize just how precious life really is. I get to enjoy doing things from my childhood again, like colouring, watching Disney movies, building forts and playing at the park. Family is like a beautiful puzzle of imperfect people made to love and support each other. I love being an aunt, it is by far my favourite gig.
-Loredana Del Bello, Assistant Campus News Editor