To My Nephews

Dear Nephews,

All five of you.
Your favorite Auntie is writing this letter. I know we play this game of pretending that there is no favorite auntie so that the other aunties don’t get insulted, but we can be honest here. I know I’m your favorite.
When there was still just one of you, my friend looked at me in middle of one of my obsessive long-winded stories of whatever it was that you were doing at the moment, and she said “How are you going to love another one?”
I was honestly quite concerned. When I found out that your moms were pregnant again, I wasn’t sure that I could love the new ones as much as I loved the first one. But it only took a moment to discover that it was a useless fear. I fell in love with you all the moment you joined my world, and I never looked back.
Of all the things I call myself, my proudest one is Auntie.
I hate being too far away. I love our face-time dates when we have to be apart.
Most of all, I love being your best friend.
The moments in which you trust me so sub-consciously, reaching for my hand, wrapping your arms around my neck. When you are afraid, and I am your safe place.
The moments in which you look up at me, wonder in your eyes, a question in your sweet little voice.
I don’t have all the answers, but answering your questions fills me with a joy that I can’t explain.
Most people I see in the adult world have an incredible depth of pain. They are mistrusting, suspicious, angry, saddened and broken down by the way the world has trodden upon them.
You, my sweet, sweet nephews, are untouched. Your eyes are still bright, your smiles are genuine, your questions have no ulterior motives.
If I could be all-powerful for a moment, I would grant you the capability to be that way forever.
Yet that is not the way this life works.
But the thing is, I don’t have to change.
As life hands you lemons, I beg you to come to Auntie Ettis house and we will make lemonade together.
I hope, so deeply, that when you are 15, 16, 17, you still have that trust in me. That you still turn to me with that question in your eyes, and trust me to give you the answer. That you are unafraid to voice your thoughts to me. That in the moments of your fear, and for whatever reason, your parents can’t be there for you, you remember that you have an auntie that loves you more than anything.
You currently range from ages 4 years old to 3 weeks. Pictures of you flood my camera roll on my phone. In my conversations with others, I have to hold back from sharing story after story of your antics. Hanging out with you is my first choice in activity, far above anything else.
Drinking coffee, as you drink your cocoa, sitting together.
Playing with your toys, constructing worlds inside your head.
Waking up at 5:30 with you.
Coloring.
Reading stories.
Making up stories.
Giggling.
Rides over my shoulder.
Singing songs with you.
Running around the playground.
Flying down slides.
Holding your hand as we walk down the street.
Rocking you to sleep in my arms.
When you rest on my shoulder, comfortable and at peace.
The hugs, the kisses, the ridiculous things you say.
I love you. I love all five of you, and I already love those who have not yet joined our family, but will one day.
I know you aren’t able to read this letter yet. But one day you will be. It will then be more years until you can understand what it says.
But the words in here will always be true.
While our activities will change, and our relationship will transform as we all grow older, the depth of my love for you will never  falter.
And while g-d willing, I will grow busy with my own family, I want you to know right now that my door will always be open, my arms will always be ready for a hug, my food will always be cooked for you, and most of all, I will always be here to answer your questions.
I love you, M, M, B, A, and B.
Your Auntie,
Etti

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