Aunt by Proxy

This past weekend my latest nephew was born. He’s perfect and beautiful, has a head full of hair that his parents have already fashioned into a baby mohawk and looks precisely like his dad. His dad is one of my best friends in life. Baby Jacques, by extension, is already one of my kids by proxy. When I think about all of the kids in my life (and there are a lot now), I often think about how insane it is that they remind me so much of their parents and that I met many of their parents at the age they are now.

Counting my closest and oldest friends, the mini-me tally stands at 19 kids in total (very Duggar-esque), 6 boys and 13 girls. So many great little faces that look so much like my favorite faces on this planet.

And they’re all growing into their parents in so many ways.

Mason is his mom’s beautiful spitting image. Mya is athletic and strong-willed. Max is quirky and understands (and uses) inappropriate humor. Daniella is a sensitive soul. Malia beats to her own drum. Isabella is whip-smart and tomboyish. Karley looks almost identical to her mom when we met in Brownies. Emma is her aunt’s doppelganger (her mom and aunt, sisters, are two of my closest friends). Baby Jacques may or may not already have his dad’s feet. The mannerisms, the identical quirks, and the matching gaits always bring a smile to my face.

I realized a long time ago that my emotional attachments to my friends immediately transferred to their children the second they were (or are) born. This doesn’t even begin to address how much I love each of them, as individuals. The babies, the toddlers, the kids… of whom the oldest is now 13, have grown up in front of my eyes. We were all in our mid-20s when the baby boom started. I am both slightly ill at the thought of seeing these same (formerly) little humans preparing for college or whatever else defines their path in just a few years – and insanely excited.

My best friends have all given me the generous gift of aunt-hood. In lieu of actual kids (yet), life has given me 19 reminders of the bits and pieces that indelibly connect me to my most important friends in this world.

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