Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

February 6, 2014

Aunt in training

ASHLAND — After months of calling my sister’s fetus “it,” I can finally refer to her unborn child as “her,” or more endearingly, Harper.

Upon graduating college in December, I temporarily moved in with my sister until I could find an apartment closer to Ashland.

I don’t think I realized how pregnant she really was until I spent every night talking with her, seeing her stomach grow and watching her transition through typical stages of morning sickness, constant sleepiness and those crazy appetite swings you always hear about.

She is six months pregnant and recently revealed the gender of her baby. But for some reason, the realization I will be an aunt in a few short months failed to hit me until I referred to the baby by name for the first time.

Now that we know she’s a girl, I can say things like, “I’m buying Harper a new dress,” or “I think Harper will like this for her birthday.” It’s like she’s already here!

Since Jennifer is my only sister and I have no kids of my own (or even younger siblings to take care of), I can easily see myself treating Harper as my own.

Sometimes I catch myself thinking about what she may look like, what her interests might be — will she enjoy writing like me, be a socialite like her dad or have a knack for science like her mom?

Typically, I do not enjoy baby-sitting or playing with kids, simply because I have trouble relating to children. But with Harper I am willing to learn.

One of my close friends from Morehead State became an uncle last year. He was from Greenup, and after the baby was born, we made frequent trips back to his home just to visit his niece, Scarlett.

Like me, he had no younger siblings and it was his older sister’s first child. When he told me he was considering changing his future plans to live closer to home and help raise his niece, I didn’t understand why.

I think in a few short months, I finally will. Even though I am excited to finally move to Flatwoods in a week, it saddens me to think about being so far away from Harper when she arrives.

Sometimes I worry my inexperience with kids and caretaking may cause Harper to think I am a bad aunt. I hope in the next few months to learn everything I can about how to take care of kids and nurture them in the right ways.

Any advice for future aunts is certainly welcome through calls or email!

LANA BELLAMY can be reached at lbellamy@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.

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