I’m an Auntie by Choice
Written By Savvy Auntie Staff Writers
By Amanda Greene
Amanda Greene is finding the joys of Lupus. She was diagnosed with Lupus and APS at 15 years old. As "LA Lupus Lady" she is an online advocate for Lupus Research and Wellness. Amanda's flair for connecting using Social Media and passion for sharing made her transition to brand ambassador a natural one. Find Amanda online at www.lalupuslady.com or tweeting (too much!) @LAlupusLady.
I am a proud member of the Savvy Auntie club. I am in love with my niece and nephew who are my husband’s sister’s children. Though they live across the country, we have a growing relationship that –thanks to technology – makes us feel as if we are a part of their lives. But sometimes, that is not enough. I have still more love to share, so I embrace being an “Auntie by Choice.” While you can’t choose your family, you can choose your friends, and when your friends start having families… Well, you get the picture.
If a picture says a thousand words, there is no need to describe how blissful I am with Goldie. Goldie is my youngest niece, born earlier this year. Actually, she is the daughter of my “sister from another mother,” so I am her Auntie by Choice. We have this great bond where I don’t have to say a word and she knows how much I love her. Goldie is too young to have chosen me to be her “Auntie Panda,” but her mom did. When Goldie reaches out for me, there is nothing like it in the world. Does she know that she has captured my heart? I hope not, or the future shopping sprees could be dangerous!
Goldie’s older brother, Arlo, already knows that my purse usually has a surprise or two for him. Little does he realize that the books I bring him are helping him learn to read and count. The last time I saw him and his sister, Arlo asked me if I could schedule a reading play date with just him. “Of course!” I managed to say – while melting inside (counting the times he has melted my heart, 1, 2, 3…infinity).
Currently, my extended family has issues, and I barely see my brother’s young daughters. The fact that I am a Savvy Auntie to other children than my brother’s used to be unbearable, but I am living with a chronic illness called Lupus and the lessons I have learned are that everyone should appreciate the gifts around them. So, I celebrate what I can, when I can. That’s when I thought about the idea of who I am. Whether you want to call me “Amanda Panda,” “Auntie Panda,” or “Panda Cam” (because a camera is usually in front of my face trying to capture special moments) it does not matter to me. No matter what you call me, know that I will be there with a smile, a hug and – most likely – my camera.
The other day, another friend brought her kids – who are now also my friends – over to swim and play in our pool. My favorite part was when her shy son shouted, “Amanda Panda, watch this!” as he jumped into the deep end. My cheeks ached from smiling so much. The joys of being a Savvy Auntie are immeasurable. Here’s to infinity and beyond.
Photo: Courtesy of Amanda Greene
Published: August 27, 2012