On Being an Aunt

When my niece was born 10 weeks ago I stood in awe of the future; a tiny human with infinite potential and there she lay, dreaming. I marveled at the beauty of the act, wondering what on earth her day-old self could be dreaming about. I felt love, though that love was unfocused.

My love isn’t unfocused anymore.

A few weeks ago she was searching for me from across the room; seeking me out by listening to my voice. When she found me and we made eye contact, she smiled. In that moment I felt the blood rush in my ears and everything about my love for her was clear. Fierce and protective love. “Rip out the throats of those who might try to hurt her” love. Gentle and guiding love. The love in memory and history. She’s deep in my cells.

I see my sister in her face. I see her in my sister. I hear the memories of childhoods and know without doubt I will be everything I can for her. She is not mine, but she is my own.