It hadn’t been a very good year for her. She was living in her parents’ basement healing a broken heart and trying to figure out how to, not just pick herself up, climb to the top of her greatest dream. She was broken, she’ll admit, then her youngest sister gave birth to a baby girl. Everything stopped.
The love she had for her niece, my friend told me, was greater than all the struggle, pain, and whatever other crap life wanted to throw at her. It didn’t matter, only this little girl did.
Now it’s my turn.
Nine months ago, Christopher sent me a photo of a sonogram to say that I would be an aunt and, for me, the timing was perfect. Chris and Tara married just four days before I left for Lesotho and I was nervous that I would miss out on the first child of our family and teased them to wait, telling Tara that it would be ideal if she was eight months pregnant when I came home. Really, everyone should time their big life events to correspond with my wanderlust. And that’s what happened, probably less to do with my homecoming than I’ll admit in public, but Tara was less than a month from giving birth when I saw her, and the rest of my family, for the first time in two years.
The whole marriage and kids bit is not part of my immediate plans, but I am so excited to be an aunt. On “Home Improvement” – which I watched religiously because, duh, Jonathan Taylor Thomas – Jill had a sister who would occasionally visit. She was a photographer and traveled around the world, bringing the Taylor boys cool souvenirs from faraway places. That’s what I aspired to be – an awesome aunt who could bring the world back to her nieces and nephews, and in my scenario I would be married to JTT. So, before I left Africa, I bought a furry little lion for my nephew, convinced that he will carry it into adulthood.
Last night, two weeks later than expected, Owen Joseph Mangan came into the world. I love him.
Owen comes into my life when I don’t have many answers. I couldn’t sleep last night, so wrote him a poem. I usually do not write poetry, but he makes me feel like I can do anything, and that I should do everything.
Holding him today, nothing else mattered. Not my ringing phone. Not the things I lack. Not the uncertainty.Only Owen. A fresh life gives you more hope than any new year or second chance. As his aunt, I know that I’ll be loved.
Owen, I promise to be there for you – bringing you souvenirs from all the places I go, gifting you books and journals, cheering you on in whatever grabs your passion, listening to all the details of any problems that ail you, forgiving you when you make mistakes, laughing with you. No matter what you do, no matter what you say, no matter what you become, I will love you. Always.