Always the Cool Aunt

One of my biggest support systems in my struggle with infertility has come in very small packages.

My nieces, Cali and Kate, are two of my biggest supporters. They love me no matter what. They will share their crayons, their bubbles and, in Kate's case, her red lipstick with me, no questions asked. They love me unconditionally, just because I am their Chicka.

Many people have tried to console me during my struggles with infertility by telling me I can "settle" for being "the cool aunt." They try to explain all the ways it is wonderful to be an aunt without having to worry about the burdens of actually having a child of my own.

These people are crazy.

They must not realize I have ALWAYS been the cool aunt. There was no settling for the role. I CHOSE to be the cool aunt more than seven years ago.

Just ask the girls. They'll tell you all about it. Chicka sends the best cards and packages... usually because there is something edible inside. I buy the best presents because they are loud, gross and disgusting (although, truthfully, Uncle Jeremy probably buys most of the favorite gifts.) I arrange the best meals because they are always at the places the girls want to go. I buy ice cream. I give frequent snuggles. I have a Children's Place reward card and I'm not afraid to use it.

The times that truly break my heart come in two varieties. First, the girls are in West Virginia and I am in North Carolina. It's about 6 hours to visit, and no matter how frequently we visit, it just isn't enough. I wish they were closer (and it wouldn't hurt if their mom was, too.)

Secondly, it hurts when they want things to be better for me.  Neither of the girls is old enough to understand infertility. However, they have asked my sister why Chicka doesn't have a baby. They can tell I want one. They know I love them and they really want me to give them a cousin.

Recently, one of the girls asked my sister why God wouldn't answer her prayers and give me a baby. She had been praying every night, just like she was taught, and even though her little heart was totally committed, Aunt Chicka never seemed to get the baby she wanted. Knowing that my niece, who I love and treasure, was hurting and questioning her faith because of me was enough to break my heart.  I don't want her to know pain and bitterness in her small number of years she's been on this earth. I want her to see the love she is surrounded by each day. I don't want her to know the pain that is infertility before she is old enough to really understand.

I'm glad that my infertility struggles will be resolved, for better or for worse, before the girls get much older. I want them to laugh with me and share their struggles with me. I don't want them to hurt for me.

Besides, we will be too busy finding new shoes and heading to the fun places around town.

Otherwise, I might lose my cool aunt status.

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