Thursday, October 18, 2012


The 'og' Original Godson
... at Faith UNwrapped, there was this boy.  He was in 8th grade and looked exactly like my godson Shawnie, right down to the glasses that he wore.  Right away, I could tell he was a good, nice, solid kid, much like my godson.  And when I saw him, it made me ache for my nieces and nephews that live so far away.

For a REALLY long time I was the single aunt.  I lived in my parents house until 29 years old.  From the time I was 19 to the time I was 29, my life and joy pretty much came from my nieces and nephews.  Some of my favorite memories consist of taking them on special 'dates'.

Emma Rachel
At Christmas time, I would take the oldest, Shawnie on a 'fancy date'.  I remember we went to this restaurant that had flaming cheese (opa!).  When they lit it on fire, Shawnie looked so terrified.  He curled up to the opposite side of the booth, scared the whole place would light on fire.  Emma is the second oldest in that family.  We had the most special time when the two of us went and saw Wicked together.  Some of my college alumni were also seeing the show, we went to a super pretentious restaurant, 'Small Plates' and dined on a HUGE Sunday before taking in the show.  I know she felt like a rockstar that night, we both dressed up.  It was so incredible.  Kiley, the third in that family was the best snuggler, I used to hold her so tight.  I remember telling her she could stay up as long as she let me hold her...I used to love having her fall asleep on me.

Trey surprising me in the back seat
My brother Regis is constantly getting transferred to different cities. I tried to go visit them at least once in each location.  I remember going out to Boston the first time.  Regis picked me up and my godson Trey was hiding in the backseat. I cannot tell you how much I love these children.  It was late at night and I didn't expect it and all of a sudden he popped up from the back screaming, 'auntie MARE MARE!!!'.  My eyes welled up right there.  I was about to spend 4 days with my favorites!  I had the chance to take the oldest two to the Boston Aquarium, just us.  They were still pretty young and I will never forget eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches right in front of the Aquarium.  I still have a playlist on my ipod called, 'Faith Josephine' that has all Disney princess songs that we could listen to when she was in my car.

My princess Faith
But then, something happened. I met a super incredible man.  In the past three years we have gotten engaged, bought a house, and had two babies of our own.  And I find it is harder and harder to be the aunt I want to be to my favorites.  You see, before, finances were mine (though not well managed).  I could travel at least once every couple months to go see some of my favorites.  When they came into town, I could take them to the store/out to eat...shower them with attention and love.  Now, there just isn't time or money to do that.  And although I am so grateful for my own little ones, I miss being the auntie that spoiled the kids rotten!

Nutball Kiley!
In the past three years, I think there have been collectively 15 more grandkids added to the mix.  I know I am not creating the same bond with them that I did with the first few oldest.  It is a huge bummer that our families live so far a part and it is so difficult to travel with the little ones to go visit.  The olders are growing up and the youngers don't really know me like they should, like they would if we all lived close.  Like they would if I still had the time and resources to go visit.

Silly Face!!

I am so blessed to have a family that fights with passion but loves with passion. I adore that when we get together, we laugh, we have fun, it is chaotic (oh, and there is always serious amounts of drama)... but I guess, for a second yesterday, when I saw that boy the same age as Shawnie, my heart broke just a little.  This new reality is something I wouldn't trade for a million kazillion dollars.  I hold my babies each night and feel so thankful for the blessings God has put into our lives.  BUT, I remember holding these other babies, who for so long were the closest thing I had to children.  And I can't believe how quickly they are growing up.

Great Cousin
That same boy who jumped to the other side of the booth in fear, is now in 8th grade.  He is a teenager.  I have to admit, I wonder if the next time I see him...will he still be willing to hang out with just me?  Will we be able to talk and go to lunch/dinner, just the two of us and have it be as awesome as it used to be?  Will we always be close, or has distance, along with me growing my own family changed that?  Emma Rachel, who giggled in delight while watching wicked, is now in middle school.  And a cheerleader to boot!  We have talked about her coming to Michigan this summer for a week or so to help me with the babies- I really hope that happens.  She is such a great young women.  Kiley, my drama queen, continues to keep us all laughing.  Trey, the cutie who jumped out of the backseat is now on a football team!  Like a grown boy :)  How painful that I can't go see his games and cheer him on?  Faith Josephine, who's playlist I still have on my ipod is a lovely little girl.  The last time she was in town, she kept asking if she could hold my little Joseph. She was my lil' Aaron's hero as she allowed him to follow her around everywhere.  They are each turning into such amazing little people. But they are growing up so darn fast.

Best Buds
And what about all the nieces and nephews that live so far away that I am not even mentioning?  Adeline, who writes us the most beautiful notes to update us on her life.  Kolbe, Ellie, and Bailey...all the same age as little Aaron.  We should be having play dates weekly, but instead all four of them will probably only get together once a year, if we are lucky.  Dylan and Keegan, Warren and Ralph, Jack and Brendo, and who could forget Rocky?  These children being born every year, raised by exceptional parents and living too far away.  I can't keep up with being the awesome aunt anymore, but hopefully I will be able to show them how much I love them when they are in town or, every couple of years when we are blessed to go visit them.

This is my melancholic reflection on being an aunt to so many amazing children.  To watching our families grow and expand.  I miss being who I was to these kids and I am trying to figure out how to be the best.aunt.ever in my new reality as a mom and wife myself.

All Grown'd Up
But I'll tell you one thing, looking at that 8th grade boy, the one who looks like my Shawnie made me realize I have to make a better effort because before I know it, these kids are all going to be grown up, and I am going to be meeting their children (and I can finally be 'scary aunt Mary Wilkerson').

Any suggestions on how to stay connected to family that is far away and constantly growing?  I'd sure appreciate it :)

Have a great Thursday!


  1. so cute! skype it up as often as possible. i was raised with my cousins far away and i think im pretty close to all of them (: i say you do old fashion pen pal too! it's so much fun and the boys can pick out little trinkets to send to their cuzzos. and like you said, fb is awesome. even if you're little and are just friends with family.

    1. You are so right. I need to get better about letters. Maybe 2 a week to different kids? That could work...hmmmm, the wheels are turning

  2. No matter what, You will always be, Auntie Mare Mare.........Look at us, here in Jersey, we all love and miss you all! but, we all do what we can to get together.. The next generation of US, has formed already... No worries Auntie Mare Mare.... ((((((( major hugs ))))))

  3. I love Montgomery's suggestions!! I have no extended family, and well, we have family drama of our own that I won't go into here, but how cool is it to get something in the mail for yourself?!? You could even write something, have the boys draw something,include a photo or two, stickers... and get it all done in a couple days and then just pick days to mail to the different kids throughout the month(s). Stamps are getting more expensive, but cheaper than travel!

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  5. Sorry - this just came to me, of course after I hit send. You could do a traveling storybook too. Now, this will take a little money for postage, but you could get or make a journal and do a couple of different things. Either you could start a story and write a paragraph, then send it along for them to add theirs, mail it back, etc. Or it could just be letters back and forth...all kept in one place! Again, not sure what postage looks like these days, of course....or a joint blog could work for that as well - just make sure all settings are private! Can upload photos that way too. :)

  6. This is so sweet and I totally understand. It's one of the things I find so hard about big families. There is a lot of love but not a whole lot of time or energy to really show that love in the ways we want to...