Fast forward to now. Now I am "Aunt Judy". I take care of my three nieces every Tuesday, while my sister goes to work. Three girls, ages 7, 9, and 11. This began three years ago when my husband and I moved to Kentucky to be closer to our families. Prior to that we had evolved into a carefree, child-free state, many hours away from both of our families. We both had jobs that kept us busy, we made many friends who were "empty-nesters" and so were virtually child-free like us. We traveled with these friends and had a busy social life.
Eventually, our friends became grandparents and began focusing on children again. Some of them got divorced. Things changed, as they will. Both my mom and mom-in-law were in their eighties and starting to have health problems. We decided to move closer to our families... that's when we came to Kentucky. I had been working in Center City Philadelphia, which was a pretty exciting place. Taking the train every day, strolling down to Rittenhouse Square at lunchtime, walking past the Curtis Institute of Music and hearing arias and violin solos coming through the windows. I had really come to love my life and had gotten over my sadness at being childless.
It's very quiet here in rural Kentucky. It's a very different life. There are no commuter trains. I don't have a job now. We have met some very nice people, but haven't really settled in yet. The politics are quite a bit different here. We are returning to some of our midwestern roots. We still subscribe to the New York Times.
Where does the "tribute to mommies" come in? It comes in when I think of how my life has changed since becoming "Aunt Judy" to my three nieces. It's a whole different world! I have learned all about the Disney princesses, about all the variations of American Girl dolls, about Hannah Montana and Camp Rock and the Cheetah Girls. I have learned that kids are hard work, have big squabbles over little things, and can never find their shoes. There are funny, happy moments and moments when you want to give up. I read "mommy bloggers" now, and can relate to a lot of what they talk about. And I admire them. I have the children one day a week; they have them 24/7. Wow!