I gained the official title of “Aunt Alycia” when Brooklynn Rae Danielle Howard was born on December 10, 2004, just nine days before my tenth birthday. Let me tell you, I wore the title proud.
The age difference between my niece and I allowed me to be the “cool aunt.” You know that aunt, the “one who understands” the “one who doesn’t dress like an old lady” the “college girl with awesome friends.” My niece has always seen me as way cooler than I have ever viewed myself, which ended up being a bigger responsibility than I would have ever thought.
Her big green eyes have watched my every move through the increasing pressures of middle school, high school, and now college. So many of the choices she’s made in her short time have been told to me with a proud, “just like you” at the end.
“My coach told me that I’m aggressive, just like you.”
“My teacher asked me what I want to be when I grow up, and I told her I want to be a writer, just like you.”
“I want to wear a big t-shirt to bed, just like you!”
This adds a lot of pressure, but more than that it has given me almost 11 years of strong accountability.
My niece is my mini-me, and she makes me proud to be me. That’s what I gained form being the “cool aunt.” It makes me happy to see her wearing a big sweatshirt with boots and leggings. It makes me happy to read the stories she writes. It makes me happy to be her role model, and it makes me never want to fail at this beautiful task I was blessed with.
everyone needs a mini-me. I think everyone needs to see themselves through a child’s eyes. Everyone should get a chance to see how “cool” they are, how “awesome” they dress, how “HOT” their boyfriend is (she approves). Little eyes watch everything, and they want to be
But sometimes I think that we should strive to be a little more like them.
I’ve learned more from my mini-me than she will ever learn from me. I’ve learned how to talk to God like a childhood best friend, just like her. I’ve learned to rediscover the brilliance of Harry Potter as she experiences it for the first time. I’ve learned to eat a little too much candy some days. I’ve learned to laugh at cheesy Disney channel jokes, and I’ve learned to love myself a little more. just the way that she loves me.