{30 to 30} Be Nicer to my Niece

I’ve told you before about my sister. She and I don’t have the best relationship. Or any relationship, really. And she has two kids, my nephew Ronaldo* (10) and my niece Shakira (4).

I was there when Ronaldo was born. I took dozens of pictures of him when he was a baby, toddler, little kid. I’ve driven with him in the car. We’ve gone on special auntie/nephew dates. We used to draw each other pictures and mail them to each other (he’s too old for that now.)


Here is little Ronaldo


Here he is with his birthday gifts


And again, 2 seconds later


And, yet, another picture from the same moment

But when my niece Shakira was born in 2008, Man-Beast and I moved from Arizona to another state the next year. That, and the fact that my sister hates me got in the way of me establishing a great relationship with Shakira.

(Side note: now that I see how my sisters and I are as adults, I can understand how my parents and certain aunts or uncles were never close. Ah, the circle of life. Right, Simba?)


But Shakira is almost five. We talk on the phone every once in a while. And my mom tells me that she loves looking at pictures of me (which just breaks my heart even more.)

So for her fifth birthday, which is coming up soon, I’m going to make Shakira her own special scrapbook, full of pictures of just her. Her as a newborn (I did go to the hospital to visit). Shakira at my wedding. A few Christmases. With all those events together, I have 48 pictures of her.

Yes, it’s pathetic that in five years I only have 48 pictures of her. I took 48 pictures of Ronaldo in the first 30 minutes of him being born.

But there’s nothing I can do to change that. The only things I have control over are how often I call her, how often I send her a drawn picture in the mail, and how I preserve the few memories that she and I do have together. The scrapbook will be a good way to hold onto those memories, and I hope she gets a kick out of it.

My beautiful niece on her way home from the hospital

My beautiful niece on her way home from the hospital

In the meantime, I’m choosing to not be afraid that my sister will tell me no when I call to talk to Shakira on the phone. That’s my sister’s choice if she wants to be a bitch or not. But I’m going to power through, be brave, and call anyway.

Shakira is my niece and I want to be a good auntie for her.

* Names have been changed … obviously. So if you’re going to change them, you might as well have fun with them, right!?

aunt quote

*   *   *   *   *

Here’s what we have so far in my journey of {30 to 30}

1. What to do in the next year

2. Give up on the search for a BFF

3. Host Christmas

4. Have a white Christmas


About julieschicklit

My book blog is dedicated to finding books, stories & ideas that redefine women's literature to be something smarter & funnier. More RAWResome lit for ladies. I am remaining some-what anonymous because I have a day job. My Man-Beast and I are soon going to live abroad in China, so that's why I'm a reblog-aholic.


  1. I love this post. That you’re willing to reach out to your niece is admirable and a scrapbook is perfect. Maybe one day she’ll realize her auntie loves her and wants to be a part of her life.

  2. Ugh, it sucks when kids become collateral damage in adult arguments. I hope you are able to build a better relationship with her! She is a cutie.

  3. Thanks ladies! Your support means a lot. Xo

  4. This is me: “Really, they named their son Ronaldo? Really! I mean, do they just really love football (soccer) that much, or is it a family name, or…?” And then I got to the end and got the names changed bit and laughed my silly little head off.

    I have a cousin who I was very close with growing up, that I’ve since lost contact with because of a feud between his mom and my mom. (That’s a very simplified version of it, obviously.) Sometimes I wonder how he is doing and if I should try to reach out and bring him and his family back into my life… and sometimes I wonder that if he had wanted me as part of his life he could have reached out too. And so we are stuck… until one of us takes the iniative. You already have the initiative so I say keep on contacting your neice and nephew and be a part of their lives for as long as you can.

  5. Thanks, DJ Matticus! Ronaldo would be a fabulous name. Shakira too. But my sister doesn’t listen to any of my suggestions!

    And that’s too bad about your cousin. Cousins are supposed to be built-in friends! Birthdays and holidays are always good excuses to reach out to someone. I hope you two can find a way to be close again. Good luck and let me know how it works out!

  6. Always love your posts (so many great ones lately), and this one was really touching and kinda heartbreaking…

    I’m sure she’ll love the scrapbook 🙂

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  12. I pray you and your sister will one day have a close relationship. It could happen, I promise. 🙂

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