I’ve discovered what the best job in the world is. Can you guess? Not a travel reporter. Not a chocolate quality control person. Even better. It’s being an aunty (or uncle as the case may be). And although it doesn’t pay very well (okay, very well = nothing, as you well know), that’s the last thing on your mind.
Being an aunty means that you get all the good stuff and not much of the bad. You don’t have the role of checking that homework is done, vegetables eaten, school uniform is clean and school bag packed with the correct things for the relevant day.
I’ll never forget the squeal of joy my niece made when I unexpectedly arrived at her school sports day. I heard a delighted shout of “Aunty Jude!” right across the schoolyard. It made the long trip worthwhile and her happiness at seeing me will remain with me forever.
You do have the job of being a positive role model and if you happen to be a teacher, the school holidays provide plenty of opportunity for that. You can teach your nephews/nieces cooking and rather than seeing a great big mess, you see a lifelong skill being gained. You can play games and rather than see time better spent doing the housework, you are strengthening your relationship while the child learns problem solving skills and how to be a good loser (or good winner).
Children are on their best behaviour when they visit as they know that getting your undivided attention for the entire day is a privilege that just can’t occur pretty much anywhere else. Children feel really special if you take the time to attend their sporting events or school concerts. As I always say to my nephews and niece, the best thing someone can give you is their time. It’s nice to know that even at 14, my oldest nephew still asks and actually wants me to attend his grand finals.
Being an aunty or uncle is an important role that doesn’t get much acknowledgement in our society, but the rewards for all are enormous.
I’m proud to say that I am fortunate enough to have the best job in the world.