A few days ago we found out that my little sister is going to have a little girl.
I will admit that when I heard the news that she was expecting (early this year), my first reaction was sadness. It was not fair. She's three years younger than me, had only been married for seven months, and wasn't planning on conceiving.
I had endured multiple - I mean a plethora - of intrusive exams for the past year. The day before I found out about her baby, my DH and I had our first RE visit. I was feeling optimistic about our next steps and feeling hopeful that we were close to finding answers. That excitement ended with that phone call.
It was a call I sort of dreaded. I didn't think it would happen this soon. I didn't think it would be this way. It felt like a huge punch in the stomach.
After the sadness subsided, I thought about my baby sister. I remember when she was born. I remember holding her as an infant. I was only just over three years old, but I remember feeling this strong love for her. I remember thinking (in my three year old mind): "I am going to teach her everything I know. I am going to protect her. She is my sister and I will be a good friend and big sister to her." Now there is a tiny baby growing inside of her. And I am happy.
It took me a while to get to that point. I cried and I cried. Then I cried because I felt guilty about crying. But the joy did come. I still feel sadness, but not for her. I feel sadness for us. I've helped guide her through many things in life - her 1st day of kindergarten, fixed her ponytails for picture day, taught her how to ride a bike, held her hand on our walk to school, gave her advice when she experienced a broken heart ... and stood by her side as she married her incredible husband.
This time around, she will be a mother before I will. Motherhood is not something that I know. I will not be able to guide her through her pregnancy or give her advice on what to do when the baby is born. It hurts me that I can't do that. This time she will have to teach me. She will have to guide me. I've taken a backseat and I feel a little defeated.
But today was different. Today, I felt the joy. As I walked by the baby section of a department store, I saw a tiny little outfit with the imprint "My Auntie Loves Me". I felt it right there - I felt joy for my niece.
My niece will be the first baby in our family (1st grandchild for my parents) and already she is loved more than she will ever know. I look forward to holding her in my arms and telling her that she is loved by her Auntie.
To my sweet little niece: You have already changed my life, and I thank you for that.