You don't see me, the way you should, the way I hoped you would. For some reason you see me as less in some way, not deserving of your respect or confidence in my words to you. Even though I am twice your age and have lived through many difficult times. Yet you want me to "understand and accept" the decisions you have made. But then I am only your Aunt.
I was at the hospital when you were born, the second person to hold you and tell you how much I loved you. I wanted to be an important part of your life and so I was there for you. I spent time with you. I didn't just attend your birthday parties, I attended your life and I made sure you were part of mine. When your mom got a job I was the one that drove you to the bus stop and waited with you for the bus to arrive. We talked and laughed while we waited for that school bus, it was fun and I was happy to do it. When you opened the car door to leave I kissed you and told you "I love you, have a good day", you would always smile back. But then I am only your Aunt.
When you asked me questions, questions I knew you didn't feel comfortable asking your parents I always answered each one, honestly and truthfully, I wanted you to know that I would always answer you and that there was not anything you couldn't ask me. I knew you wouldn't always like my answers, but it was my duty, my honor to help guide you as you grew up. But then I am only your Aunt.
I admit I was bit overboard, over involved. I took you to Doctor's appointments, soccer practices, and friend's houses. I stepped in when your parents stepped out and maybe I shouldn't have been so available. No, it was not always convenient for me to leave work early to take you to gymnastics, but I wouldn't have said no. It give me more time with you and I knew that once you grew up, I wouldn't have that time as much and I didn't want to miss a single minute. But then I am only your Aunt.
You learned that with different adults you could get away with being disrespectful. You never did like authority and I guess like most teens you didn't want to be told "No". We talked about your feelings and your ability to manipulate certain situations and how you needed to focus on more Godly pursuits, but now looking back I should have been harder on you. I was beginning to see what I thought was normal "teenage selfishness". I made excuses for your behavior thinking back to myself when I was a teenager and I thought everything revolved around me. But I was wrong, and before I knew it your parents had sent you away to a "Girls Home". They knew I would never agree so they didn't talk to me about it until after they had sent you away to a lock down facility. I argued that your Uncle and I could take you in. We would provide you with the consistency you needed and frankly a stricter environment, I was devastated that we didn't get the chance to try. So for nine months I wrote you two letters a week. I wanted to make sure you didn't go more than 2 or 3 days without a letter. Unfortunately, after you were released back to your parents you continued to struggle. So I once again stepped in and took you to work with me each day. I still can't believe I was able to convince my boss to allow me to bring you to my office each day. But then I am only your Aunt.
Now you are an adult and the decisions you have made some good and some very bad, make me ache for your hardness of heart. Nothing I say to you carries any weight. Even when I show you what God has to say, you still do what ever you want. Taking advantage of the Grace God gave to us freely through His Son. You attend a church that tells you how you act and what you say is somehow OK. Now you hate to be around me, you know I can see the real you and that makes you even madder, bitter toward me. You know I don't and won't approve of your life style, so you tell yourself I must not love you. But then I am only your Aunt.
The last few years you have separated yourself and your life from me. You didn't even come to see me when the Doctors were afraid I wouldn't be able to come back from my illness. Not a call, a card, nothing. I thought about you a lot then, our trips to the mall, birthday parties, and your band recitals. I thought about the time your Uncle and I came to visit you during parent's day because your parents had other plans. I told you I couldn't have loved you more if you were my own child. But then I am only your Aunt.
I understand now that no matter how many "life lessons" I talked to you about, or Bible stories I read to you or how much I encouraged you to live your life as Christ would have you, I couldn't teach you the most important lesson of all. I couldn't give you empathy. I couldn't make you feel or recognize the feelings of others and have compassion on them. When I finally realized that, I had no words left to speak to you, only prayers to God for you now. So as I watch from a distance your life unfold and seeing how you live, my heart grieves for you. But then I am only your Aunt.
I do the only thing I can for you. I pray. Everyday I pray that you will find the path laid out for you by God, that you would walk that path and leave behind those who keep you from the only one who loves you more than your Aunt. Our Father God who has empathy and compassion beyond our human understanding or reason. Our Father God who sent His only Son to die on a cross for our sins; to make sure we had a way into Heaven. I am only your Aunt, but He is our God. You don't have to listen to me, but one day every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that He is God.
I have been writing all my life, I just didn't realize it until I was my late 40's. I hope my experiences can help other who have gone through similar trials. This story is a bit different for me, however I feel compelled to write what I see, even if it isn't always happy.