Monday, 12 December 2016

Beware comparison

This time fifteen years ago, I was going through my first pregnancy loss, finding pain in every mother/child/grandchild relationship I saw. Fifteen years later, I’ve just spent the weekend with my sisters and nieces, one of whom was heavily pregnant. I’m very pleased for her – she had thought it wasn’t going to happen, and so is not taking it for granted.

I love my nieces, and I’m very proud of the women they have become, and I am now very accustomed to seeing my sister as a doting grandmother - though she’s less doting as he grows into a cheeky teenager! Initially that was hard, as it was a reminder of what I wouldn’t have. But I am now secure knowing that my relationships with my nieces, and with my great-nephew, fill different needs and a different niche, and are all important in their own right.   

There’s no point in comparing my relationships with them with my sister’s role in their lives. Comparison is after all the thief of joy - and there is so much joy in being an aunt, and a great aunt, and in accepting those roles.




9 comments:

  1. I lost my aunt in June this year.She never married,and never had any children of her own (I think for mostly medical reasons),but she was like a 2nd mother to my siblings and me.Only after her death, and not being able to have children myself, have I come to realize that I never even thought to talk to her about why she didn't have children,or how she felt about it?This breaks my heart now,as I'll never have the chance to now.I hope and pray that we all were at least a bit of comfort for her. This will be our 1st Christmas without her, and it will most definitely be a much sadder one without her, but we will celebrate her life, and hopefully I can have the same type of relationship with my niece and nephews as she had with us. That would be amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Comparison is indeed ruinous. It's basically what most unhappiness boils down to. I've personally been dreading my sister becoming a grandmother, as she lives for her only child and will be pretty full-on with grandchildren. But as time goes on I dread it less, basically because I am, more and more, too tired to worry about it - luckily, as you get older, those things that you thought would horrify you do start to recede. For me, anyway. As you say, relationships with nieces & nephews fill different needs and different niches - I like that. They have their own place, and it's no good me feeling sorry for myself for not having the relationship that my sis has with her kid. It's practically 90% stress and anxiety, anyway, so I'm lucky not to have that, in many ways.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Being an aunt is not the same as being a mother... but it's a pretty cool thing in its own right. I just wish I hadn't taken the role for granted while we were expecting to have/trying to start our own family. I think we've always been a good aunt & uncle and we've always enjoyed our nephews -- but I keep thinking that I would have tried harder & done more for & with them, had I known what I know now. I'll never have those years back. But I'm hoping for a bit of a redo, if/when the great-nieces & nephews start to show up. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I get so giddy when my nieces/nephews want to talk to me/comment on my pictures, I then promise to take them everywhere if and when they'll come to Berlin. I never had this types of relationship, due to my age, distance and family dynamics, so I try best. Not yet in the stage of greatnieces/nephews but I can only imagine that they'll be just as fun.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love my Auntie. She's been a second to my sisters and me. It's not the same as a mom, but as Loribeth says, it's still good. We aren't very close my husband's family, so I didn't ever feel like an "aunt" to my nieces and nephews. And my sister has a baby now, pregnant on accident, and was never supportive through my IF journey. So... I still don't feel like a aunt.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Aunts are very important (so says this auntie). Actually all family members are important for keeping that micro-community running.

    ReplyDelete
  7. yes absolutely. I have a nice relationship with several of my aunts and it's lovely having that connection.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a great segue from being sad and angry about the differences between your sisters' roles and yours, and then the acceptance and joy in your role as an amazing aunt. It's true comparison is the thief of joy, but it's awfully hard not to do it when everything is raw. Glad to know it gets a bit easier with time.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I liked the part, "Comparison is after all the thief of joy..."

    ReplyDelete