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When the family grows

This past week has been fantastic as my brother and his fiancé welcomed their son into the world. As a proud first time auntie and godmother of this little man I went through a whirlwind of emotions in the course of just a few days. Most of all because my brother and his family live on the other side of the world and it will be at least 8 months until I get to see any of them or cuddle the little bundle of love that is now part of our family.

Other than being very happy for the baby to arrive safely into this world, I immediately started to worry that I’d be the auntie far, far away that never feels like she’s enough and has to overcompensate with expensive gifts the few times we have time to spend together. If you’re and expat and anything like me, these feelings would probably have come up for you as well, and maybe across a few different situations with family and friends living far away.

But then I realised that it was more important to decide on the bigger picture first and then start actioning all the things I felt like I needed to do. Because if I was to come from a space of feeling like I was not enough and from a need to compensate, then I’d probably run myself in a bit of a hamster wheel of constantly chasing ‘good auntie points’.

The most important thing for me is that little H gets a chance to get to know me and that we can develop a bond. As I’ve never been an auntie before, I’m not exactly sure what this bond would look or feel like, but I’d love to be that person he can call and rely on as the extra adult in his life. To help him feel safe, loved and supported. As I started to paint the picture for myself of what this bond could look like, I also started to get really excited about being an auntie – no matter where in the world I live.

Once the big picture and purpose is clear it gets so much easier to start looking at the abundance of things I can do to develop this bond with him:

  • Skype/phone as often as we feel like it
  • Text message updated/picture messages
  • Meeting up when I’m in Europe or they are in Australia (only 8 months now until we meet up in Scotland!)
  • Sending little gifts (thought matters more than financial value)
  • Writing notes to him that he can enjoy when he’s older
  • Think of him daily and send my love across the world
  • Write about him and his family here and in other forums to let them know how much they mean to me
  • Thank my brother and his gorgeous wife-to-be for deciding to become parents
  • Knowing that everything in life goes both ways – it’s as easy for him and his family to contact me as it is for me to contact them
  • Be grateful that we live in a time where technology makes physical distances only as long as we decide to make them!

What’s your experience of these sorts of things with your family?