Dear Savvy Auntie,

I am very sad and desperate.

I don't have kids of my own, not by choice, but at peace with it. I have a lot of nieces and nephews (all friends' kids) and a godmother with all of my heart.

Two of these amazing children belong to a single mother I've known for about nine years. The older one (8) is my godchild. The little one is 3, and I was babysitting her for about a year every second Saturday. We have a very strong bond and enjoy every second we get to spend together.

A while ago things got more and more difficult, after the father of the younger one left. I started to feel the mom got a bit jealous from time to time, since the kids where little Auntie fans and loved spending time at out house. Maybe i should have done something back then but I'm afraid i didn't take things serious enough. Kids are kids i thought, Auntie always has candy hidden somewhere.

I tried to help my friend who was now single. After a while she told me my help wasn't needed, kids went somewhere "bondless." I am very aware - or I can imagine how hard it is to be a single mom. But my help didn't help, it only stressed her. All this was followed by allegations like me having an affair with the little ones' dad (heck no!) and the most resent: telling her kids I steal their things. I don't know if to laugh, scream or cry.

Today she told me I will never see those kids again - to be honest, I don't mind not seeing their mother again. I have no rights, I have to do what she says.

But Dear Savvy Auntie: HOW do you let go of the little people? Nothing I can do, tried to talk, tried everything. I'm not allowed to see them. It breaks my heart knowing they miss me and don't understand. Breaks my heart, just the thought I will never see them again. Miss them already. Very much, and very sad.

Auntie Peach

Dear Auntie Peach,

So many of the Aunties we hear from have similar situations, you are in good company.

As heart broken as you are, keep in mind that things change quickly with young children. As they grow and mature, they see situations more realistically, rationally, reasonably, and responsibly. They also gain more and more autonomy and are able to make decisions for themselves. Their mother sounds very stressed and sensitive to their rejection of her. Right now, she has the power to control them; this will not last.
My first suggestion is to write to the mom, invite her out for dinner, and try to understand where she is coming from. Really, really try to listen and understand with compassion. Do not plead your case or emphasize your feelings.
Secondly, I suggest you send them cute cards and little gifts on holidays as well as weekly notes with your address and phone number. The eight year old will soon be able to communicate directly with you.
Meanwhile give your time, attention, and love to the other children in your life, it will help your heart heal.

My Best wishes,
Natalie Robinson Garfield


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