Life & Love

To My Nephew Who Doesn’t Know Me

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It is your 1st birthday today and in the weeks leading up to it, I found myself overwhelmed with sadness. This feeling stemmed from one simple truth: You have no idea who I am.

The day you were born, I was living up a final night out in DC. The Redskins were playing the Cowboys and I spent the evening trying to convince your mom [through a series of drunk Snapchats] that because the Redskins beat the Cowboys on the day you were born that, in a family split heavily between this rivalry, you were destined to be a Redskins fan. Fast forward to the barely 1-6 Redskins a season later, and I don’t care who you root for, kid.

There are more important things on my mind when it comes to you.

You see, I had spent five years living the big city life… wild, but perhaps not yet free. Professionally, I climbed the ladder at work with integrity, while also completing my master’s degree. I traveled. Danced my face off almost every Saturday night. Sang off-key at so many concerts. Stood beside some of my best friends as they married their soulmates, while I found, and subsequently lost, myself in all the wrong men. There was plenty to love in all that living, but it lacked a freedom and passion that I so deeply craved.

Two weeks after you were born, I was en route to chasing that freedom. I made a pit-stop to come meet you. This was the hardest part… knowing that being free would undoubtedly come with a cost: a relationship with you.

You were the tiniest, most perfect thing I’d ever seen. I called you “elite” in the sense that you were superior to your “peers” because you never looked like a potato. Cruel or not, that is what I think most babies look like for the first 3-6 months of life. But you, you were this little bundle of perfection. Even your dad said, “I honestly didn’t expect him to be this cute.”

I wanted to hold you forever, but we had less than 8 hours together, which both of us spent sleeping… me more than you. When I left before sunrise, I decided not to want to wake you, even though I wanted a picture of me reading you the first of many books I gave to you. I was about five minutes away when your dad texted me to come back so we could take this picture. For that, I am so grateful.

It’s the only photo I have with you, and therefore, the only semblance of a time when you knew me. I love how alert and focused you are on me reading the story, which your mom says is now your favorite.

Since that photo, I have missed your gummy grins, your contagious giggles, your sleepy smiles after a good nap, your first crawl, your first words, and I’m sure by the next time I see you, your first steps.

I’m missing it all. If you could only see the tears blurring my vision as I write this to you. The reality is… I may always be absent from your life, at least physically. I may always be the aunt flying in for holidays, wine in-hand, and then flying right back out. The “Aunt Mellie” who sends your gifts in the mail (expect lots of books, because I’m determined to have you love reading despite how much your dad hated it growing up).

I can only hope that my presence in your life transcends geographic time and space. My goal is to make my mark on this world in such a way that has you saying proudly, “That’s my Aunt Mellie!”

You may not know me now, but as you grow, I hope you’re so sure of who I am that you, too, choose to be brave and adventurous in chasing the life your desire. Because if I know one thing, it is this. This world is going to try to tell you to be a lot of things, Weston. It is my greatest hope for you that you come to believe… the absolute best thing you can be for this world is, quite simply… yourself.

Happy FIRST Birthday, Weston James! You are so loved!



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12 thoughts on “To My Nephew Who Doesn’t Know Me

  1. I love this so much and it gave me all the feels. I completely empathize with you because I feel like I’m missing all of my nieces’ and nephews’ lives living 300+ miles away and only going back home a few times a year. A bittersweet feeling of going after what you want in life but realizing the sacrifices you have to make for it.

  2. This is so sweet. He will be so lucky to have you as his Aunt Mellie, showing him the meaning of life and love. He will know you, through your writings, your book selections, your playlists and more ๐Ÿ™‚

    You all will have the most beautiful relationship. I canโ€™t wait to โ€œreadโ€ about how it grows!

  3. This is so precious and beautifully written. I know it hurts to feel like you’re missing out on someone who you love’s life. If it’s any consolation, I’ve had so many aunties be there from states away, only seeing them on holidays and hearing their voices on phone calls. It hasn’t made me love them any less. In fact it somehow made them more endearing to me. I’ve never lived in the same state as some of my favorite people, including my aunt. Also “wild, but perhaps not yet free”…gut punch right there.

    1. Hi Roco! Thank you so much for this insight… it seems to become harder as he gets older. We enjoyed a Facetime session last night. It really is so comforting to hear your experiences and the bonds you have shared with your aunties and other loved ones as well! <3 Strangely enough, too, I really needed a re-read on this blog today, so I'm so happy your comment popped up! XO, Melanie

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