Today, my sister officially announced to the world (via Facebook of course) the good news. She’s having a baby!
And that means, I’m going to be a tía in August.
I’m sure that the eddy of emotions inside of me is familiar to many of those who are first time aunts/uncles, particularly those who are not terribly fond of children. I’m elated for my sister, excited for my family, confused as to what to do with a baby (do they prefer Bob’s Burgers or Archer?), and weirded out that something that probably looks like a cashew right now is going to somehow became a fully fledged human being that I’m partially responsible for.
I can’t even keep a cactus from dying (Poor Roberto, I knew you well).
I also recognize that some of my more liberal ideas regarding gender and baby-raising is a whole lot of theory and not a lot of practice, because it’s not my baby. I can’t force my sister to think about gender stereotypes with baby colors, or buying her child both dolls and trucks, or enrolling them in ballet and soccer.
But, as a tía, I am determined to (in as a kid-friendly way as possible, Goddess help me) expose this kid to radical ideas and ways to look at the world. I want to read Harry Potter and Wild Magic and The Ordinary Princess over Skype until it becomes our own secret language. I want to buy them all the tiaras and science kits and tutus that they want (maybe not all, but I have no problem buying my possible nephew a fairy crown if the boy wants a fairy crown, or my niece an encyclopedia on insects if the girl’s into bugs). I want to help them when they’re bullied at school, or freaked out about talking about sex with their parents, or need to compare scars with someone who also hated themselves in elementary/middle/high school.
I’m still weirded out about the cashew thing, and I still have no idea what to do with babies (do they fist bump), but if I can, in some small way, pave the way for this brave new soul, I’m happy to lend a hand. But maybe not a green thumb.