My children have the amazing aunties. They have aunties who push them on the swing, aunties who teach them baking, aunties who invite them for swimming and pizza, aunties who love them completely and utterly, and they know and adore their aunties in return. But one auntie I think might just have earned herself more brownie points than would fit on your sleeves (I’m from the pre-sash era!) as far as my littlest two are concerned, because it’s not everyday that your auntie brings you face paints, and even rarer that she’d willingly let you paint her own face.
With a rare opportunity to have the whole Yorkshire family together, we headed north last weekend and my brother and sister in law arrived with a face painting set that was an immediate hit with all three little ones. Both aunties have clearly got some serious skill in the face paint department and the girls were soon sporting rainbow masterpieces.
Pip, who willingly sat for decoration of his own, then decided to add a little extra of his own smudging so that he rather quickly began to resemble a baby zombie with a sunshine on his head.
And with his and his sisters’ faces and hands painted they looked around for another canvas, and found their aunt.
This is love, pure and simple, and to give Pip and Elma their due, they didn’t do too badly – assuming your taste lies towards a very strong and sparkly blusher.
It’s to the credit of both aunties that they stayed face painted for quite some time, even after the children had entirely forgotten that they were face painted and had gone outside to be run around in the wheelbarrow (Kitty and Elma) and to strong arm their cousin’s boyfriend into joining in an impromptu back garden sports tournament, despite him never having played hockey ever before (Pip).
It was just the loveliest way to spend a sunny afternoon, watching them dashing about. Part of it of course is that I want my children to know and be close to their extended family; John and I are close to all of ours and try to see them as much as possible, despite living a hundred miles and more from almost everyone. He grew up with a huge chunk of his family, if not on his doorstep then certainly in the neighbouring villages, and there are times I wish that our little trio got more of a chance to see their extended family in person, but it’s not just that.
I know it sounds sappy, but there are moments in our every day when one of the kids does something incredibly cute, or really funny, or is just so sweet to a sibling, and my love for them just bubbles up and out and I want to squish them into the biggest hug ever and never let them go, although as they really wouldn’t appreciate a big squish hug in the middle of the performance of their latest ‘show’, all I can do is look over to John with the “did you see that!” parental telepathy. He usually has the same look for me. I think it’s the natural pride of a parent, and the good sort of pride, if we’re allowed a good pride. It’s not the competitive urge, the “look what my super special snowflake can do” bragging, but a joy in sharing and acknowledging the way in which they make our lives completely wonderful. A “look what we made!” sort of celebration. When they make me so happy, why wouldn’t I want to share that happiness?
So when Pip decided that he was absolutely definitely playing hockey with the big boys, there were four of them there to play with him, and another seven people to look on adoringly. It is blindingly obvious that my little three are adored from top to toe by all their family, and not just because they’re the only nephew and nieces, the only grandchildren, and the only ditto with a “great” on front of it.
On a sunny afternoon, with aunts and uncles in happy attendance, what could be more fun than to let them be scooped up and enveloped in that love.
Joining Katie at Mummy Daddy Me for The Ordinary Moments