Dear Savvy Auntie,

My oldest nephew is starting kindergarten this year, and the other two are in pre-K programs. Not only does it tug at my heart that they are growing up, but it is also difficult for me to think that I can't just drop by anytime of day to see them -- they won't be there! I feel kinda silly for feeling so strongly about it... I guess I'm hoping that I'm not the only one. Is it strange that I feel so sad about this?

Back-To-School Auntie Blues

Dear Back-To-School Auntie Blues,

Be assured you are not alone! It is the least talked about emotional reaction, yet very prevalent in aunts, mothers, and grandmothers. Yes, it’s a female thing; perhaps because females have more and particular attachment hormones.

Of course, it is a loss for you not to have the freedom to drop in; however, there is a big surprise addition coming your way that is hard to imagine. Your nephews will enrich your life in many ways…their social skills, their academic acquisitions, their sense of themselves as independent beings, and precious artwork. With each stage of independence comes enrichment for the “folks left behind.”

On a different note, take a look at YOUR life, and notice that now it will be more structured; you can enroll in that activity you didn’t have time for. Athletics, culture, intellectual growth, and fun await you.

I strongly suggest that you write down your thoughts, fears, expectations, and sadness. Others would certainly profit from an articulate, open-hearted auntie’s writings on the subject.

I look forward to reading your “essay.”

Natalie Robinson Garfield

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