Kimberly Seals Allers: Nine years before I was a mother, I was an aunt. Prior to having my own children, I was a go-get-'em career girl and kids were the farthest thing from my mind.
But, my nieces, oh my nieces! Autumn, and later, Bria, were my closest relationships and experiences with any baby. And I loved them dearly. This is especially true of my oldest niece, Autumn. I'll never forget the excitement in our family over the first grandchild. It was infectious and I was caught up in it. The night my sister went into labor, I was there to drive her to the hospital. I secretly hoped that her traveling musician husband (whom I really didn't like anyway) wouldn't make it to the hospital in time so I could be in the delivery room. But somehow he made it. (Darn!) But the moment was still unforgettable. Looking through the glass at this beautiful brown baby, who looked very much like every Seals family member who had come before her, and who had more curly hair than I thought possible, I was struck by the enormity of our family and our lives being forever changed. It was such a momentous occasion.
I just loved being Aunt Kim. Still do. When Autumn was in elementary school, I would try to go on one class trip each year. One time, a kid got sick on the bus. All the mothers began, as if on cue, to frantically start pulling things out of their bags -- wipes, baggies, tissues, first-aid kits, and defibrillators while I stood there useless, staring at my fave MAC lip gloss and my L'Occitane shea butter in my designer handbag. "Auntie, don't you have a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g in that bag?" I remember my niece asking sincerely. Funny, I thought I had e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g in my bag. Just nothing from the mommy world, it seemed. These days, when I peep into my handbag laden with wipes, toys, Band-Aids, and juice boxes, I just have to laugh about that day.
That's why it's so hard to believe that this weekend my Autumn will graduate high school and become an entering freshman at George Mason University majoring in biology. I am so proud of the young lady she is and the strong black woman she continues to become. I still distinctly remember bawling like a baby at her kindergarten graduation! But I am proud to have been a part of her life and know that being Autumn's aunt helped prepare me to be the mother I am today.
|Kimberly Seals Allers is an award-winning business journalist and founder and editor-in-chief of MochaManual.com, a weekly online magazine for moms of color. She is the author of "The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy" and "The Mocha Manual to Turning Your Passion into Profit." Kimberly is a divorcing mother of two and lives on Long Island, NY.|