All my life I’ve known that I didn’t want to have children. I never felt a clock tick. I never looked at an expectant mother’s belly longingly. When I was in my 20’s my mom would say, “You’ll change your mind.” But when I hit 30 and I was still singing the same song, my mom snapped. “You’re so selfish!” Those words hurt, but they didn’t change my feelings about motherhood.
Fast forward over a decade. I started teaching at a new school and at 45, I was the second oldest person on the staff. One of the young teachers said to me, “I get aunt vibes from you. You’re like our own Aunt Viv.” Once the other teachers heard this, they too agreed to this description and before I knew it, that became my permanent moniker, Aunt Viv. Even the principal, who was also younger than me, called me Aunt Viv.
Just over 3 years ago, all three of my siblings ended up on the path to parenthood within months of each other and I became a real aunt! In Chinese, you call your aunts by their position in the family as well as which side of the family they’re on. My nephew JJ calls me GuGu Viv, while my niece Izzy and nephew Teddy call me Dayi, which translates to Big Aunt. When I explained this to someone recently, they said, “Yeah, you really have big aunt vibes.”
Maybe I was selfish to never have my own children. Or maybe I was just born to be an aunt.