When I was a little girl, we lived in the country. On school holidays, I used to come down to Melbourne and stay with my Aunt and Uncle in the city, where we did fun city things. There were trips to the park, dinners out, shopping or shows.
It was time that was just for me; time away from my sister, special time. I had my aunty’s undivided attention, it was in the days before my cousins had even come along.
I remember begging to stay an extra day, an extra night, wanting to extend the magic as long as possible. Asking mum as soon as she walked in the door “how many sleeps till I can come back?” and then counting them down, willing them away.
When I got older, we moved to the city and the roles changed. I was growing up and boys and friends became more important than hanging out with family. It was my sister’s turn.
She spent weekends there and then eventually one night a week when she was in high school. Tuesday nights was her special night, a part of the family routine to such an extent that she even features in the big family portrait on their wall.
She now lives overseas and I am busy with my own family. We still see my aunt and uncle regularly, love them dearly, but we don’t have that one on one time anymore.
But now, now, it’s Poss’ turn.
Last weekend she did her first, long awaited, sleep over there. She ate dinner in a tree, which was winched up to her branch on a rope. She sat up until almost midnight watching movies. Swimming, board games and baking. She was having so much fun, we got a phone call to ask if she could stay later.
I love that she will have those experiences to treasure, building a relationship with a grown up that’s not me or her grandma. A great aunt is something even more special; a confidant, a friend, a playmate. Someone that gives her undivided attention when she’s there; creating memories.
She is possessive of her time there, pushing me out the door, begging me not to stay for coffee. “You can go now mummy, please, just go”, she says. As soon as she’s back in the car, she wants to know when she could go back, counting down the days.
It’s like we’ve come full circle.