No time to blog this morning, for I am in Montreal with my niece, her brother and their nanny, the incomparable Alisha.
The advantages of aunthood are many. First, you have children in your life whom you love and who are supposed to love you, and are happy to do so, at least when they are small. Second, childcare is definitely a part-time thing. You might have (or look like you have) tons of laudable patience, but it stems from the fact that talking a toddler down from a temper tantrum is a rare treat for a usually absentee aunt, not business as usual.
When Pirate was born, I told a colleague that that was pressure off me to have kids. He looked consoling, assuming my parents were pressuring me to get married and have kids. But they certainly weren't. It was my own internal clock that was the nag. It said, "Have kids. Have kids. Have kids. Your family isn't getting any younger, you know."
But then Pirate was born, assuring the future of The Family, and now there are Peanut and Popcorn, too. And I see in all this the advantage of not thinking of yourself primarily (or exclusively) as an INDIVIDUAL but as part of something bigger than yourself, which in my case has always been The Family and also, of course, The Church.
Although I am a huge fan of romantic love, I think one of the things about marriage is that it is about bringing very cool people into your original family and then co-operating with them to bring more people into it. It's not all about you and what you want, but what (and who) will help The Family thrive.
(I recognize, of course, that some of you simply don't have sustainable biological families, and for sanity's sake have created the next best thing.)
Just enough time to pick a new swashbuckling protector for the day, and then I must wash and dress. My nephew has eyed my nightdress with disapproval and informed me that I need clothes.