Auntie Says...

Sage Advice from a Young Dad

Once upon a time there was this kid named Josh. He’s my nephew.

In my eyes and heart, he’s still a little boy.

His dad died when he was eight. Josh is the one who had to run to the neighbors for help.

It was Christmas Day. It was my baby brother. Heart attack. Dead the next day at age 31😢

Pretty shitty Christmas all way ’round. Pretty shitty Christmas’ for many years that followed.

Fast forward 25 years and my little Josher is now Josh the man. Josh the Dad. Josh the Fiancé. I’m so proud of the person he’s become and the truth he represents.

After my little brother died, my nephews Josh and his brother Justin came to stay with us every summer for at least a week or two. Trauma hung on Josh like a heavy weighted blanket. It was just there.

Time has passed. Wounds have healed. My nieces and nephews went on to make Auntie more nieces and nephews…Thank you. Each holds a special place in my heart.

I’m so proud of all my nieces and nephews. In fact, I as the special cool auntie had a role in raising them all and they’re all my faves 😉. Ask them. They’ll tell you that Auntie plays favorites every day because each is, of course, my favorite.

Witnessing these young people grow up into independent adults with their own strengths, their own issues, likes and dislikes, their own wishes, dreams, their individual triumphs, and disappointments, has been a gift.

I am so damned proud of each and every one of them. Even the one’s who aren’t blood (you know who you are. And if you’re wondering if you fit into that space…believe me, you do.)

My younger nieces and nephews also know the crazy–be who you are–auntie and will grow to share their realities before I’m quite ready for it.

You know that little boy Josh, well he wrote something this week that struck me right in the centre of the chest. He gave me permission to post it here. He writes of his young daughter…

Tonight, I had one of those moments as a parent (and a coach) where you reflect on it after it happens, or you look at a picture of it, and get a huge lump in your throat and tears welling up that are comprised of equal parts pride, happiness, excitement and hope. My often timid little B hadn’t touched the ball in a game through the first two weeks, and then missed week-three, sick. It may not sound like much, but tonight, she volunteered to play goalie in the first half, had three goal kicks, and then got three touches in the second half, sprinting up and down the field like I’ve never seen. The first two weeks were not easy for her, nor I, and this reminded me I’m doing something right, even if I’m also inevitably doing other things imperfectly. Boost your kids up instead of criticizing, even when things aren’t going the absolute best. The same goes for yourself. So freaking proud of you kiddo! The best feeling success come after you first beat adversity…

From my nephew and youth soccer coach Joshua Hall.

I want to take that realization from Josh and spread it around to every kid I’ve ever know.

I’m so proud of you! You did it. Times weren’t always bad, but you survived the strife, the nightmares, the bullying, the doubts… You are all amazing.

Look what Josh had to go through as a kid and yet as an adult he can now reflect on the pride he feels for his own daughter.

Somehow, my young nephew got so wise. Lessons garnered through life. Those little people grow and make us proud and we too must be proud of our input, whether big or little–it doesn’t matter.

Take heed of what Josh, my little kidlet, says… Stop with the criticism of those around you and of yourself and accept that things do change and morph.

Reflect, accept, and do your very best you.


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