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I always considered myself a tomboy. I wore black Converse shoes all the time, I had my hair in a ponytail most of the time, I hated pink, I played PlayStation, loved Star Wars, and spoke with an extremely thick midwestern accent. I didn’t even think about getting married, let alone having kids. But then … something happened.

I have two sisters and one brother. Cassandra is eleven, Abe is nineteen. And Rachel is twenty-one. I feel guilty for saying this, but I am slightly ashamed that I am a fourteen-year-old aunt. Twice.

I guess that when Rachel was sisteen, she fell in love with someone whose name I do not know. She eventually had that man’s baby. She named him Hunter. He was three months old when the family found out about him.

Two years ago, Rachel fell in love yet again. I do not know this man’s name, either. She had his daughter last year, around Thanksgiving. Her name is Hannah.

Right now, Hunter is four years old, and Hannah is one. Rachel has a boyfriend that we all approve of. He is a wonderful man who loves the kids like they were his own. I would be very proud to be his sister-in-law. But I am more proud to be an aunt.

Hunter is absolutely obsessed with animals. He watches Animal Planet all the time. He once became enthralled with a bear-fight on National Geographic Channel. One of his favorite movies is Ice Age. He loves stuffed animals, giving hugs, and kissing his little sister on the cheek after he’s done being mad at her. He also loves to play with Lego’s and chase my two little dogs around while he pretends to be a tiger.

Hannah, whose first words include “cheese” and “mom,” is completely smitten with string cheese. One stick of that in your hand, and she’ll love you forever. She has a few strings of beads around her neck most of the time that are so long that they drag on the floor. She likes bothering poor Hunter and playing with my old dollhouse. She loves her mom very much.
I love those kids so much that it scares me sometimes. I never want anything bad to happen to them. I want them to be happy for the rest of their lives. And when Hannah stares up at me with her insanely curly hair and bright blue eyes, I question my feelings about children, and even marriage. I wonder if these things might pay off in the end. But most of all, I wonder what I will miss if I choose not to have children. And that look in my sister’s eyes sometimes … unconditional love. I respect her for that. And it makes me want to be the world’s best fourteen-year-old aunt.



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