Dear Savvy Auntie,

I'm very depressed. My sister is relocating and this means my 4-year-old niece will be leaving me. I don't have children, I can't. When my niece was born, I was there 90 percent of the time, and my sister had postpartum depression. So I took care of her. I lived with my sister for three years. It was difficult when I moved I feel like my baby is being moved away from me...

Fellow Aunties, I don't know how to deal with this. What would you do?

Disconnected Auntie

Dear Disconnected Auntie,

The sad thing is...there is nothing much you can do! We, in this country, are living at a time of family disbursement and extended family is expendable. Ask any Auntie or Grandma, we all suffer from the same malaise. There was a time when family stayed close as they expanded and those that didn’t were “moving away” Now, people are “moving toward”; better jobs, better weather, better education.

You can start to build bridges between yourself and your niece by setting up a weekly Skype session, weekly letters and drawings, and telephone calls. She is young to fully participate; but, will soon catch on.

Take some comfort knowing that your intimate relationship for the first four (most important) years of her life have had a major influence.

Good Luck,
Natalie Robinson Garfield

Published: May 17, 2011

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