This year has certainly been a year of new beginnings and new experiences. As my first year as a an aunt, godmother, guardian, and on-call babysitter from time-to-time I have learned more about motherhood on a whole new level.
Looking back at the year I am thankful for all of the memories I have made back at home. Starting with a few of my personal favorite memories with my nephew I will first start with his spring baptism. Last spring when my nephew turned 5 months we celebrated his birth with our extended family and family friends by indoctrinating him into the Christian faith at our local church. The ceremony was held after Easter during the time of Eastertide. Being my first baptism I where I would be a participant and not just an on-looker made me a little nervous about making any mistakes. However, not too much was required of the godparents.
The baptismal ceremony held at the church was quite large and was not private as commonly seen on TV. The ceremony was quite large with other fellow parish families with recent newborns. I remember my family was either the 4th or 5th family lined up in alphabetical order. When it was our turn, my nephews name was called, and my sister, brother-in-law w/ my nephew in hand, father, and myself walked to the front where the baptismal fountain was located to witness our new family member’s indoctrination. After the ceremony was finished my relatives and family friends all gathered around to congratulate the nephew and take pictures. Though the baptism was over, our family time had just begun.
After mingling and picture-taking we all left the church to celebrate at a local restaurant close by. Not too long after this event I became more involved in my nephew’s life by becoming one of his rotational babysitters. Since my sister lives in New Jersey, and I live on Long Island in NY I do not get to see my nephew except for off-days and weekends. During these days I visit my sister’s place and spend hours playing, feeding, diaper-changing, bathing, and relaxing with my nephew.
Each time and every I get the opportunity to babysit I am always surprised by my nephew. Due to my nephew’s curious and slightly rambunctious nature he is quite a fast learner. Already at 5-7 months my nephew learned to crawl, climb up, climb down, sit-up, stand-up, and push and pull things deliberately. It’s such a delight to see him move about my sister’s apartment, play with his interactive toys, watch Dora-The-Explorer intuitively, and start speaking.
Just a few weeks ago, this December, my sister and brother-in-law celebrated my nephew’s 1st birthday. Wanting to make the day more special she invited friends with same-age toddlers & young children, ordered a custom cake along with party treats, had tons of balloon floats, and made the birthday a themed one with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It was very detailed for a 1st birthday, but no more so than Dol (돌), a Korean ceremony celebrating the 1st birthday of a child. Somewhat similar to Dol, my nephew’s birthday was a major event; and a second introduction party for relatives and family friends who had not yet met him before.
The birthday festivities were well-received and my nephew enjoyed eating cake, especially the mini cupcakes. My parent’s loved seeing the memorabilia poster of pictures of my nephew’s 1st year, with poster pictures displaying his 1st week, 1st month, and 1st year memories.
Since my nephew was born my family life has significantly changed. My parents seem to be more positively engaged and involved in my sister and brother-in-law’s life. They also have been going out more since they retired. My sister in turn has been a more frequent visitor back home, which has brought a nice old-feeling of closeness between us re-connecting, by chatting more often in-person and not via phone or text. Additionally, our family celebrations (i.e. holidays) between my intermediate family and relatives have grown, with us spending more holidays, birthdays, and vacation time together more so than previous occasions.
All of these changes have taken place over the past year, and all of them I strongly believe were influenced my nephew. I am thankful that he has entered into our lives and has brought so many positive changes to my families way of life. With that I can’t wait to see how much he will grow and support him as his godmother in this journey called life.