When Nic asked me to contribute to her blog I was really touched and honoured and I had no hesitation in taking part. Having watched Nic write about her inner most thoughts and feelings during the month of October, it felt really natural to write about how it feels from an auntie’s perspective to lose my precious nephew, Freddie.
Freddie, as he is now known, spent most of Nic’s pregnancy known to me as ‘Ickle Ricole’. It was only on the day I got to meet Freddie that his name was revealed so for most of this blog I will be referring to him as ‘Ickle Ricole’.
So when did my journey with Ickle Ricole begin? Well I had the amazing fortune to find out I was going to be an auntie twice!! The first time was on the night James Arthur won the X Factor. I had invited Nic and Rik round for dinner and it is fair to say that a few cocktails were consumed that evening. As the taxi drew up, Rik went outside and Nic grabbed me in my hallway and in a slightly tipsy state revealed that she was a day or so late and that she was possibly pregnant. I remember jumping up and down in my hallway absolutely elated and then going into complete panic mode that I had just spent the whole night supplying her with alcohol!
The next morning I was just beside myself and Nic realised what she had revealed and tried to put me off the scent. I remember feeling absolutely gutted that it was not the case, so when Nic revealed on Boxing Day at Mum’s that she was in fact pregnant, well it was double elation. Secretly I still consider the first time I found out in my hallway and I will treasure that memory forever!
Knowing that I was going to be an auntie filled me with so much pride and adulation. Having never been a mum myself, or lucky enough to be gifted the title of a godmother, I just could not wait to be the best auntie ever. However, despite my complete and utter joy for my sister and my brother-in-law there was a part of me, if I am brutally honest, that was incredibly jealous.
For the first time in my life I was not going to be the first for something. I had been the first-born, to go to school and university, to get a job, to get married etc., but Nic was going be the first to give my parents the most truly extraordinary gift of being a grandparent. For months I silently struggled with these thoughts whilst Nic was expecting and I remember so vividly sitting in the hospital room on the day Nic and Rik lost Freddie feeling so guilty that I had ever had these thoughts.
After we found out Ickle Ricole was a boy, I think I was most looking forward to watching him grow, laugh, throw funny tantrums or to say a kid’s favourite word “why?” a million times, but most of all bake cakes with him. As a boy he probably would have absolutely hated it but I could not wait to have him stand at the cooker and teach him, like my Grannie taught me, how much fun you could have baking in the kitchen.
It evoked so many memories for me and I just could not wait to throw mini sports day competitions in mum’s garden and present him with little cups and trophies like our Grannie did with us or teach him how to get all arty and crafty and watch him take back to his mummy and daddy everything he had made with his auntie Chellebelle (as I am known) and seeing their faces. I could not wait for my fridge to be covered in Ickle Ricole’s drawings, to hear him say auntie for the first time and to have my heart melt in two.
On my 40th birthday I remember my friends saying that Ickle Ricole was going to be utterly spoilt by his auntie and true to form I bought so many things for the little guy. I loved my ‘pretend’ shopping trip with my sister where we pretended we were buying gifts for my friend who was expecting but actually it was for my her! Two gifts really stand out as the most precious to me now and that is a little navy blue t-shirt I had bought him for 0-three months old which said ‘My Auntie Rocks’. I could not wait to see him wearing it….