The smallest blogger in the world

I’m not sure if having children is on the cards for me; I’ve said this here before, I’m sure, and I’m saying it again because it’s still true. I’ve watched my friends bringing up their children, and now I’m experiencing it on an even deeper level as I support my sister. Motherhood changes you on a cellular level — I’ve seen it, I feel it, I know it. It’s a club you walk through fire to belong to, and sometimes those of us on the outside can feel a little left out.

But I’m discovering that this auntiehood gig is pretty intense too — it’s just taken at a more stately pace. Yesterday I babysat Wobble for a couple of hours while his mummy had an appointment in town. The last time it was just me & him it was a breeze – all giggles and snuggles and practicing our crawling.

Yesterday was different.

We started well — he ate his lunch like a champ and we played for a bit; he now has a Ph.D in crawling and was bravely exploring the kitchen and living room. But he has two teeth coming through and at some point the pain must have kicked in because he started to cry, and he didn’t stop for nearly half an hour. The poor lil dude was wailing.

I’ve been with him when he cried in the early days, but I just wasn’t emotionally prepared for the heartbreaking tears of actual pain that came yesterday. I didn’t know what would soothe him, so I just held him and rocked him and let him know he was safe as he cried into my shoulder. I talked to him as gently as i could, and then i started singing. And after a while the sobs abated and he fell asleep in my arms, and the more i sang, quietly, nuzzled into his neck, the more choked up I became. I felt how small he was, and how much i want to protect him, and my heart just cracked open – i could feel it happening as his tears soaked into my T-shirt and my tears fell on him, and that was it – a sodden mess of emotion and empathy standing in the middle of the living room.

And I’m sharing all this here because I know you mamas out there know what I’m talking about and are no doubt nodding your heads with teething memories of your own, but you know what? It was a big moment for me, not only in my auntie initiation but also in my healing. Every time Noah cracks my heart wider I realise how tightly i have held it together, how much I have wanted to protect myself from pain. But by doing that I also protect myself from love. And again and again this little boy is breaking down doors and bringing his auntie back to life in the place it matters most – in my heart. Because I can’t help loving him – it is instinctual and powerful and I’m powerless against it. And sometimes it scares me, but all I can do is roll with it…

I heard a rumour that there’s a holiday of thanks happening somewhere in the world tomorrow, so this evening I’m thankful to have this amazing little healing guru in my life… and I’m grateful to all of you who come here and read my ramblings – thank you! xo

39 responses
  1. lauren martin gauthier

    gosh, he gets more beautiful by the day! glad to hear he’s growing YOU as well. and you’re right…motherhood is a wrenching gig. wonderful and unbearable, all at the same time!

  2. Mandi

    I 100% hear you on this one, and want to thank you for putting these words down in written form.

  3. sas

    i love that you are just EXPANDING wide open via this little guy. nice work universe xxx

  4. Charlane Killough Griffith

    they are amazing little bundles of pure emotion and wonderment. and i can’t help but to adore mine. happy thanksgiving no matter where you are in the world.

  5. jen a

    tears in my eyes love as i picture you and noah together on the couch… and as i reflect on all of those days and nights – especially with ayla who had colic – even now as they grow you have moments when you witness that fragile vulnerability and it breaks me in the most beautiful way possible. love you.

  6. Samosas For One

    Oh Susannah: This so resonated with me. I can totally relate.

  7. Jes

    <3s and hugs! This a beautiful post!

  8. Liz

    I have to tell you an auntie teething story: my brother and sis in law came to visit with my nephew a few years ago, when he was teething. They went off to a wedding and left Sam with his aunt and uncle, and OY the wailing… I held him same as you and walked around singing and listened to him cry, and cried myself, and then, and THEN he started sucking on my chin, as hard as he could, and I was laughing and he was giggling and after about an hour of that he fell asleep. His parents tell me that when he is older they will tell him that he gave his first hickey to his aunt. My chin was bright red and then black and blue for days… oh the auntie stories are wonderful… x

  9. Melanie Tinken

    Susannah you are so tender, and honest. I love this post, and identify with it and you. Thank-you. Love to you my friend.

  10. Sara

    Susannah, this post made me well up! The way that you talk about Noah is so moving and so obviously from a place of deep love within you – I don’t have a sister, and I just wanted to say that I would love my daughter to be lucky enough to have a bond like the one that Noah has with you. Also: as a parent it is such a privilege to see someone have their own experience of love for your child.

  11. meg manion silliker

    he is just stunningly beautiful. isn’t it amazing what these little creatures can do our hearts just by being. it’s the most wonderful gift. such innocence and pure love no matter what. no matter how. no matter where. precious. xo

  12. Angie

    We’re all babies xxx

  13. Barbara

    I do understand You so well, thankyou for putting it into Beautiful writting!
    I Too do not know if i’ll have children but in love with my 18 months niece!
    I think today i’ll Too celebrate opening more to love!

  14. emily Perry

    ah, yes, i totally get that moment. i just love how kids teach you to love BIG, bigger than we ever thought possible. he is so lucky to have you!

  15. Nathalie

    he’s getting cuter by the minute that lil dude.

  16. pen

    That face would melt any heart :)
    Love you

  17. Nicola

    Ahhh, this post made me cry too, but perhaps for slightly different reasons. As I wonder more and more if children are on the cards for me, I find it increasingly difficult to be around my friends who have kids. Their joy and delight in being parents and their explanations and explorations of it are wonderful, but they break my heart and sometimes I’d rather just hide from it. Thanks for reminding me that holding my heart tight and separate isn’t the way to invite love into my life. xx

  18. furiousball

    adorable! what a sweetie pie!

  19. Heather

    What a beautiful heartfelt post.. I don’t know if kids are in the cards for me either but I tell you I love being an aunt and I have had those tender moments, makes your heart melt.. They are such little teachers in so many wonderful ways. I am glad that he has been a little healer for you and guru as you said, it is no doubt a bond that will grow stronger over the years

  20. gioia

    deep, intense and therapeutic insights.
    on a cellular level, you’re closer to motherhood
    than you think.

  21. clare m

    As a fellow auntie-in-love, I hear ya!

  22. Traci

    I’m so happy someone out there feels this auntiehood business as deeply as I do. My husband and I decided to not have children, and part of the reason is that I am afraid becomng a mom would change the kind of aunt I am. Seriously…an aunt is the BEST thing I’ve ever been or ever will be. It’s amazing. I’m so happy that you’re feeling this too!

  23. vera b

    much love to you, Susannah.

  24. Mariella

    What a beautiful post Susannah…really I got emotional…I understand what you mean and I just would like to give you a big big hug.. lots of love xxx

  25. Jan's camera

    He is so lovely. Being childless and an auntie myself many times over, I can emphathize with you on every level. You enjoy all the happiness but also feel all the pain. I’m thankful for every one of my nieces and nephews. From Boston, Mass, Happy Thanksgiving.

  26. annalyn

    Isn’t he’s cute with those photos? I’m a mom and an aunt as well so I hear you.

  27. laurie b

    i am 46 and have never had kids. it was just never the “right time” or the “right thing” to do for me. but i have two nephews and a niece whom i totally adore. the three of them have given me so much joy and happiness. i totally relate to your post and how much being an aunt can open your heart.

  28. Mel

    Oh my Sus, this made me cry a little. You and the little dude are so lucky to be forming this relationship the way you do. He gives you healing and breaks you open and you shower him with love, love, love.

    Seriously, makes me well up again.

  29. Rhianne

    This is lovely, Noah is so lucky to have you in his life. I can’t wait for my sister to have babies now :)

  30. Micala Duvoux

    Oh my goodness Susannah, this is a beautiful post which really resonated with me (OK it made me cry!). It’s amazing that you felt empathy instead of feeling wound up by the wailing as someone who’s cells haven’t transformed might have. I love the line about a sodden mass of emotion and empathy. Noah is so lucky to have you as an Aunty.
    PS Any chance of babysitting my two? You sound perfect :)

  31. Suki

    Oh, Susannah, this made me teary eyed only reading it. This is why I will always love children. They have such wonderful powers.
    Big hugs to you and wobble :)

  32. christine

    beautiful post.

  33. susannah

    any time :) x

  34. Christianne

    Oh, Susannah, how I love to come here a “read your ramblings” … although they aren’t ramblings to me. They’re your beautiful heart that I would read as long as you want to share it with us.

    Your story of being cracked open more and more inside your heart because of your beloved Wobble is so precious to me. I’m not one who expects to be a mother, either, so I’m reading this from “outside the club,” but knowing the pieces of your journey that you’ve shared here and also being such an affirmer of people who go deeper and deeper into the layers of their own hearts, I sit here and read this and can only tell you how glad I am that you have found this healing.

    Much love to you. And on this Thanksgiving day, I am certainly thankful for you … your words, the things you see and share, and your presence in this world.


  35. susannah

    thank you so much, love :0) xox

  36. karen d

    As a fellow Auntie I know exactly how you feel and like you I don’t have my own children but my neice and nephew own a piece of my heart of that I am sure..


  37. Marianne

    Yes. Yes. Yes!
    I’ve started finally to understand that this is what people are talking about when they say “You never really know what love/unselfishness is until you have your own children.” It used to bug me, like they were saying I was going to miss out on ever knowing true love because I miss out on having my own children. But now I realise that this is exactly what they are talking about, right? And you SO don’t have to have your own children to experience it. Thank goodness. You just have to find that magic little guru or gurus who help you find the way back to your perfect, loving heart.
    He’s so insanely gorgeous, I suspect he has a few more hearts to break open in his time. xx

  38. Tracy

    Thank you ….

  39. Jenna

    My little monster is currently working on those same two teeth. They just popped through last week which was a relief, she had been waking up multiple times in the night, refusing to do anything but have me hold and sing to her, and then one morning there they were!
    She’s still having a rough time with them but it’s getting better.
    That little guy is just precious by the way (I say that like you don’t already know. :)

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