Some people are people people. Some people are dog people. Some people are kid people. Does that mean that they behave like kids, or that they're great with them?
How about all of the above?
Childcare. How about it?
I'm not going to beat around the bush here, this one is a little like marmite for some. It's absolutely valid and completely a non-issue if you are personally not into the kid spiel or find them worthwhile or appropriate for your personal situation. That's chill, chill, chill.
I, however, don't tend to be of that belief. I used to think that me ending up in charge of the local daycare group would signal some sort of mental breakdown or personality makeover, but here I am. Looking after the amazing, interesting, funny, and compassionate children from around the area and imparting my wisdom to them. They teach me so much in return, too. Mustn't forget that.
One day it happened.
I was just minding my own business, as one does on a Sunday afternoon. But then I got a text. It could have been innocuous, there was a typo in it because of course there was in one of the more important texts I'll ever receive. But this is my sister we're talking about, where spelling and grammar are more of a suggestion than an instruction. Either way, there I was, staring at my screen with an open mouth wondering at the words 'It's a girlb'.
Obviously, as I smiled to myself in realisation, 'girlb' could easily be translated into 'girl', and there I was. I'd done nothing, in particular, that morning to warrant it, but that day I was transformed. I migrated from Sister and Daughter to one step above. Aunt.
And what a transformation it was.
Also, another point, and I'm sure it's one that everyone thinks is true when they are an aunt for the first time, but only I am truly correct. My niece is the cutest thing I've ever seen. Hands down, no question. Period.
Like, objectively, I knew that bows were cute. And baby shoes and onesies. The whole shebang, like I was aware that they were great things. But then it all changed when I saw them in person. For a person that was directly related to me. That I had responsibilities over. That may come to rely on me.
Of course, with that comes a degree of greater responsibility than I have had before. This isn't just a long babysitting job, no sir. I have to be around. Present. On good terms with my sister, and respectful that she will parent her daughter exactly how she wishes and that it's nothing to do with me. In terms of my opinion, obviously, I will support her however she goes about it. But I'll be there as a sounding board.
Or a place for her to come crying to when the world is getting A Bit Much.
You know, the times when it's been a stupidly long day and you just want a hug, a glass of wine, and – horrible though it sounds – to go back to the times when you didn't have the weight of the world on your shoulder just for one night. You can offer that to her, to both of them. When they need it, you'll be there. Cue Friends theme tune.
Also, some people comment about the money. Well, not everything in this world has to be about money. Yes, we don't necessarily rake in the big bucks, but we're like nurses. Everyone has an opinion on them, but the long and short of it is that they are integral to society, so deal with it and leave us alone!
The art students won't have a job in their field and will likely succumb to a soul-sucking job in corporate HR if they're lucky, while the science and engineering students will get paid …. Eventually. After another 4 years of debt-collecting studies. Don't even get me started on Med students. Yes, everyone contributes to society in some way, but for teachers, we have the best balance of it feeling worthwhile, achievable, and something that you can retain a passion for.
The same is true, even to a greater extent for nurses.
You have a very similar work ethic and amount of contact hours and exams and scary labs as doctors. But there are also gendered stereotypes that you have to push back against and work through. I'm not going to lie, a lot of your emotional energy is spent grinning and bearing the nonsense that the public puts you through. Quite apart from the often haunting and horrifying things that you witness and resolve daily. Like, even just writing about it is making me tired – the hours you guys work. I mean, wow. All the respect.
So in short, I'm super happy and fulfilled.
I hope that everyone else is.
But I've got to go because Billy just found the crayon box and our newly painted walls aren't long for this world!