on being a niece

at one stage, an aunt of mine lived in our family home. I used to have my own room, and when she moved in for forever – which in retrospect may have been only a few months, but children don’t always keep track of the time frames, I was made to share a room with my sister

how I looked up to this woman! she had beautifully shaped nails painted red. she wore audacious red lipstick. I believe she painted her eyebrows …or perhaps that only began in later life after she had tweezed or waxed them into oblivion …

my aunt doted on my little brother. oh here we go again, like Mum …my son my son my little boy. what am I, I wondered ..chopped liver? (to be fair, I didn’t know that expression as a child …it is the Mature Me connecting with the Child Within who uses such wording.

Big sister and little brother seemed to be able to garner the attention of said aunt – I felt very much as if I were skirting the group …hanging around the edges, desperate to belong…to no avail

as the years have passed, my aunt has coped with the loss of her dearly beloved partner, her parents, her brothers and their wives. when I do connect with her now, the main topic of conversation is her imploring me to remember her, to keep in contact, to love her …and the Little One inside me screams – DID YOU NEVER KNOW THAT I WANTED THAT FROM YOU WHEN I WAS A CHILD?

one time, I alluded to this issue in a gentle way – and slowly she admitted that she far preferred her nephew and other niece … I just sighed – what is there that I could ever say or she could ever say that would heal this little wound that has coloured a lot of my life?

nothing. all I can do is take a step back and wonder if I perhaps ignore a young person in my life, albeit unwittingly. because of my experience, I have tried to acknowledge others, but perhaps I have failed, as she did.

to anyone who has felt slighted or unnoticed by me – my apologies. forgive me – not for my sake, but for you …you deserve better …and forgiving me gives you the space and power to move on and let it go – as I choose to do. my aunt will never know the impact she has had on my life. I know for sure that she is deeply appreciative of the way I looked after her brother for 12 years after his stroke ….she said she didn’t know I could be so kind

I appreciate the experience of being part of her family. it helped me to be alert as I could be to not do the same to others ….thank you, Stel …thank you

now excuse me while I place that Little One who wanted love onto my lap and hug her tight and tell her that all is well – no matter how it seems

 

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