One of the great joys of my life was my 29th birthday, which was when my sister Donna made me an aunt for the first time. Lauren Michelle Just was born six weeks early, and I like to think she did so for me. That day I held my new niece in my arms and whispered in her teeny ear: “Hi. I’m your Aunt Jan. You’re going to love me. I’m going to buy you things.”
Today that baby girl graduates from Sac State with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. Aunt Jan is so proud.
But on Dec. 9, I got to hold another brand new baby girl, and even though I’m not technically her aunt (though her great uncle is my sweetheart), it was all I could do not to whisper in her little ear, too. But I figured that was her Aunt Rebecca’s job.
So here’s what I really said to her when I got to hold her: “Welcome to the world, baby girl!”
I’m not the only one, of course. Her very proud parents, Christina and Mitch, must be whispering all kinds of things to her. They are two of the loveliest people I know–both inside and outside. Christina will miss her own Sac State graduation this weekend. She has done something few women do in the same month–give birth to her first child and complete a master’s degree in English.
“That’s pretty remarkable,” I told her the day after the baby was born. Christina and I were taking a little walk–not because she wanted to, but because she was told she had to get up and walk at least four times that day… the day after she had a Caesarean section, for heaven’s sake. I understand why that’s important, but really. The woman had just had a baby, for heaven’s sake.
Still, C. is a trouper. She was out taking what had to be very painful steps. “Yeah,” she said. “It’s been a big month.”
“And look at the door prize you get to take home,” I said. “Way adorable.”
C. grinned. “Isn’t she?”
We got back to the room where father and daughter were waiting for Mommy to return, and C. asked Mitch to change the baby’s diaper. He looked stricken. I smiled. Dick smiled.
Mitch laid the baby in the plastic baby-holding box that passes for a bassinet in hospitals, and I retrieved a teeny diaper. The poor little girl wailed as we unwrapped her like a little burrito, and I removed her (yes!) wet nappie. She had just eaten, after all. Mitch held his baby’s head as I worked on her other end, trying to be quick about it but also trying to make sure the sticky parts didn’t stick to tender baby flesh.
Then Mitch wrapped up his baby burrito again and handed his daughter to me. Such an honor to hold someone barely a day old. Aunt Jan was so happy. I floated around for the rest of the day.
Now that baby is all of a week old, home with her parents, the little princess who has to be adored by relatives who drop by to oogle her and hold her. Every child should be so doted on, I tell you, so lucky to have so many grownups delighted to see her.
We’re so glad you’re here, little one!