"I love her and that's the beginning of everything."
--F. Scott Fitzgerald
By Amanda Gillooly
Hi. My name is Aunt Mandy. You might know me as Amanda Gillooly. But whatever the name, I’ll tell you this: I’ve become a giant gush ball.
I was swatting away tears last night while I watched the waning scenes of a teenage paranormal romance novel. This morning on the drive to see my BFFs – Nicholas and Lilly – I heard The Beatles song “I Will” and started blubbering all over again.
I didn’t have this reaction when my nephew Nicholas was born. I don’t remember being overcome then by emotion as easily or as quickly.
My niece, Lilly Belle was born at 11:11 a.m. Sept. 11. After several hours of labor and a C-section, she arrived at a healthy 8 pounds 8 ounces. She was 20.5 inches long at birth.
And as soon as I saw her, I could understand Mr. Fitzgerald a little better when he was inevitably referring to the love of his life – his wife, Zelda. When I held her today and watched her stretch, coo and then open her eyes and look at me with her little brow furrowed I knew it was the beginning of a whole new adventure.
As a woman known for being more perverse than profound, I never expected to have this type of growth spurt at 29. But when I met Lilly, it was like a whole new room of my heart opened up – and it’s as large and vast as a grand ballroom. I don’t want to get too scientific, but I think the heart transformation probably looked a lot like what happened to The Grinch in the famous Christmas cartoon.
I didn’t know it was possible to squeeze any more affection in there after all the precious moments I’ve had with my nephew over the past almost six years. Maybe I didn’t think I could get so lucky.
But I did.
And I am equally thankful for the moments that help bring me back from the edge of sappiness. As much as I appreciate the gift of a niece and all the emotional responses it’s brought, a good laugh is still a good laugh.
And the dynamic in my sister’s household never keeps me overly emotional for long.
Yesterday, when I went to play with Nicholas and check in on Ash and Lilly, my little buddy answered the door and immediately gave me the skinny.
“Oh, hey Aunt Mandy. My Mom is upstairs. She is trying to get milk out of her boobs,” he said nonchalantly before turning back to continue viewing a particularly funny episode of “The Backyardigans.”
When Ash descended the stairs a few minutes later, bottle of milk in hand, Nicholas looked at her with his broad blue eyes and smiled.
“Nice, Mom. You got some this time!”
I didn’t know if it could get any richer until this morning, when I stayed with him while Ash, Nick and the baby went to an appointment. He was Mr. Puke, and regaling me with his story about the illness.
His concluding statement: “I think I got the morning sickness, Aunt Mandy.”
Life is, indeed, good.