It was June 1987, I was 15 and the school summer holidays had just begun. I was enjoying my first morning lie in, my parents had both left for work, so I fully intended to stay in bed for as long as possible.
I heard the front door open, slam shut and then the thumping of feet running up the stairs. My bedroom door burst open and my eldest sister came charging into the room. She practically dragged me out of bed, babbling and shouting excitedly that I had to get up because I was now an auntie. Our other sister had given birth to a baby boy, my nephew. The first boy in our rowdy family of girls.
I ran into the bathroom and got showered and dressed in minutes, I’d never moved as fast in my life. I could barely contain my excitement, this was such a momentous occasion. We left the house without so much as a cup of tea, jumped into her car and drove to the hospital. We had to get there, we had to see this little bundle who would become such an enormous part of our lives.
I remember almost running down the hospital corridor and into the maternity unit. There was my lovely sister, the one that always mothered me, the one who was always happy to have her baby sister tag along. Beside her was my brother-in-law, the man that came into my life when I was just 10. The man that I had instantly adopted as my big brother, the man that I was determined my sister would marry – whether she wanted to or not! He was grinning from ear to ear and he beckoned me over and handed me this tiny little piece of treasure. Wrapped in a soft cuddly blanket was my gorgeous nephew. At that moment, that magic moment, I fell in love, at the age of 15, I was filled with the desire to always be in his life, to always look out for him and to always love him.
At just a few days old, they were dealt a massive blow, that he had a very large hole in his heart and had a some internal organ problems that would mean he would have to have major surgery. The Doctors pre warned them, that he might not survive and if he did, they would be lucky if he lived beyond a year. We were devastated, none more so than his parents of course, but the impact upon us all was huge. he couldn’t be taken from us, it wasn’t fair.
He had his surgery and we all waited, feeling sick, feeling terrified, feeling useless. He was a fighter though, he came out the other side and eventually he came home. He grew stronger by the day and he filled my life in a way I could never have imagined. I loved spending time with him, playing with him, bonding with him and just being around him. He grew to love me too and every time he came to visit he would reach out his chubby little arms and come for a cuddle.
The older he got, the closer our bond. I would have done anything for him, I spoiled him rotten, I totally adored this little person. He had to have regular check ups with a few specialists, including a cardiologist, but he was doing well. He passed his first birthday, then his second, third, fourth and then he went to school. This little boy who they said wouldn’t live was, now a schoolboy. He became a big brother too. I became an auntie 8 more times, as my other sisters began to have their families.
At the age of 8, we found out the most wonderful news, after a routine check up, they informed my sister that the hole in his heart was gone, it had closed over, he was just fine. Apart from a check up now and again, the Doctor was giving him the all clear. By the age of 14, they didn’t need to see him again. He was given a complete clean bill of health.
He is now almost 26 years old, a husband and a father of 2 himself and I am so immensely proud of him. We still have an incredible bond and even though I adore each and every one of nephews and nieces, there will always be a little something special between him and me. Even as a grown up man, a husband and a father, he still gives his old auntie a kiss on the cheek and an enormous bear hug every time he sees me. I still look at him and see that tiny little boy, the one who stole my heart away all those years ago, the one that gave me the overwhelming desire to become a mother myself. He was and forever more will be a Magic Moment.
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