Yesterday my niece turned 9. Connie and I called and sang Happy Birthday in a way that only we can - horribly! I miss her even more terribly than we sing. This is the 2nd birthday she's had away from me, where I haven't been able to make her a cool cake, shower her with gifts, play with her little brother and watch her enjoy the merriment of being surrounded by friends and family celebrating her. She is a living miracle of her parents' love, shaped by the warm and loving "village" of support in which she has grown. I wish I could take more credit for that!
I don't think most aunts have the same level of obsession that I have for my niece and nephew. I like to tell myself it's healthy, though! I've never gotten over them moving out of state, it must be the deep-seeded abandonment issues. Whatever the case, I am head over heels about them!
Growing up, I hope they are aware of how much I care for them and the length to which I would go to keep them safe and well. They are both well-loved children and my greatest hope for them is to feel that love, commitment, and sense of security down to the cores of their being. Although they may never need me to that extent (and I expect that they will always have all their needs met by their large loving village), I would go to the ends of the earth for them, just as I would my own daughter.